Israel reopens Gaza crossings as calm restored
JERUSALEM – Israel reopened Sunday, May 12, its crossings with the blockaded Gaza Strip after closing them during a deadly escalation earlier this month, an official said, as a fragile truce held.
Both the Erez crossing for people and Kerem Shalom crossing for goods were open and operating, a spokeswoman for COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees the crossings, said in a statement.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least 9 militants, were killed in the two-day flare-up, which ended on Monday, May 6, in a tentative truce.
Palestinian officials said Israel had agreed to ease its crippling decade-long blockade of the impoverished enclave in exchange for calm.
Israel did not publicly confirm the deal, but on Friday, May 10, lifted the ban it had imposed on Palestinian fishing boats operating off Gaza.
Israel says its blockade is necessary to isolate Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas, with whom it has fought 3 wars since 2008.
But critics say it amounts to collective punishment of Gaza's two million residents. – Rappler.com