Israel reopens Gaza crossing after nearly two weeks

Israel reopens Gaza crossing after nearly two weeks
After more than two weeks of closure, Israel on Sunday reopened Gaza's Erez Crossing to allow Palestinian workers access to and from the blockaded enclave.
2 min read
Israel has decided to re-open the Erez Crossing, to allow the movement of people and goods between Israel and the besieged Gaza Strip [Getty]

Israel reopened its only crossing with Gaza to Palestinian workers on Sunday nearly two weeks after closing it over alleged unrest, the defence ministry said.

"Following an assessment of the security situation, it has been decided... to open Erez Crossing for passage of workers and permit holders from the Gaza Strip into Israel, beginning Sunday," said COGAT, a unit of the Israeli defence ministry responsible for Palestinian civil affairs.

The crossing is used by 12,000 Palestinians with permits to enter the occupied territories for work.

Israel had closed the crossing on May 3 ahead of its national memorial and independence days - marking the 1948 dispossession and displacement of nearly 750,000 Palestinians in the wake of its inception.

Israel and Hamas, the rulers of the besieged coastal enclave, have fought repeatedly over the last 15 years, most recently in May last year. Israel has blockaded Gaza for more than a decade, preventing essential supplies from reaching more than 2 million of its local indigenous Palestinian population. 

A recent World Bank report put the unemployment rate in Gaza, a Palestinian territory of some 2.3 million people, at nearly 48 percent, with work in Israel a vital lifeline to the enclave's economy.

The latest developments come after violent incursions into the Al-Aqsa compound by Israeli forces throughout Ramadan caused outrage in Palestine and beyond. 

Palestinians consider Israel's repeated attacks on Al-Aqsa to be a provocation and part of a wider effort to transform the third-holiest site in Islam into a Jewish place of worship, in breach of the longstanding status-quo agreement there.

It also followed the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was shot dead while on duty by Israeli forces. Shocking scenes from her funeral on Friday showed Israeli forces beating pallbearers holding her casket.