Israel reopens Gaza Strip crossing after almost two weeks of closure
The "Karni" crossing in the Gaza Strip was reopened on Thursday, allowing humanitarian goods to reach Palestinian citizens after almost two weeks of blockade.
The crossing was allegedly closed by Israeli authorities following warnings that individuals planning attacks against Israeli citizens might use the crossing to enter Israel, according to Haaretz.
The closure has caused severe damage to the Palestinian economy, and basic humanitarian goods will be given first priority once the crossing reopens.
"We've already reached marginal levels for flour and other staples in the Strip," said Deputy Minister of Economics in the Palestinian Authority, Nasser Saraj.
"The Israelis know perfectly well that the Strip can survive on existing stores for three weeks to a month, but the economic damage caused by the border closure is great," he added.
"In a few days there'll be a flour shortage, and if that happens there'll be a conflagration here - but it will be directed against the Israelis, not Hamas."
The production lines for candy and other goods requiring sugar have slowed, while no fresh milk remains, just milk substitutes. Furthermore, the price of flour and sugar have risen since the crossing was closed. Gazan lawmaker, Atef Odwan, told PIC the price of sugar increased by 50% in the past few days.
Incoming goods from Israel also cannot reach the Strip because of the closing; cement, steel and fertilizers are all held up as a result.
The prime vegetables that were intended for export, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, are being sold in the Gaza Strip markets for around 10 cents per kilogram, or are left to rot on the vine unpicked.
Israel officials have said that they are not interested in seeing Palestinians go hungry, although Dov Weisglass, an advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister remarked a few weeks ago that Israel would seek to starve Palestinians, but not to the point of death.
Meanwhile, three rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night from the northern Gaza Strip at Israel.
Six Palestinians were detained overnight Wednesday by Israeli forces at the Egyptian-Israeli border in an apparent attempt to enter Israel, according to Ynet.
Thirteen others were arrested in the West Bank on suspicion that they planned to carry out an attack against Israelis.
© 2006 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)