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Challenging Israel, Hamas Takes PA Border Crossing Station

Some 400 truckloads of goods are expected to arrive this morning at the crossing.
The Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90

The Hamas run Gaza authorities have informed Nahed Shahibar, the contractor who owns the franchisee that runs the Kerem Shalom border crossing station on the Arab side, that his contract has been revoked and transferred, as of Monday morning to one Muhisen Sharafi. As of Monday morning, as many as 70 trucks bringing goods into Gaza have been waiting on the Israeli side of the crossing, Ynet reported.

According to Arab estimates, some 400 truckloads of goods are expected to arrive this morning at the crossing, a much larger number than usual, due to the border closure in recent days.

Shahibar managed the crossing station on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which is why Israel agreed over the years to cooperate with him. When Hamas took over control over the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government decided in principle not to work directly with any element of Hamas.

Over the past six days, the Kerem Shalom crossing has been closed to goods moving into Gaza, in retaliation for the rocket that was shot at the city of Ashkelon last week, and the Friday shooting at the moving vehicle of the northern division commander of the IDF Gaza Brigade.

Only yesterday, Sunday, Major General Eitan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, announced that the Gaza crossing will open Monday morning, but now it appears that Hamas’s intention is to disrupt the return to normal activity.

It is estimated that the lack of consent by the Palestinian Authority to Hamas’s unilateral decision will cause the crossing to remain closed, as there are no authorized trucks and franchise owner on hand to receive the goods from the Israeli side.

It was the Palestinian crossings management office that informed Dangot about the Hamas, and he in return made it clear in conversations with senior PA officials that Israel considers the Hamas move a breach of the status quo and of the security arrangements regarding the operation of the border crossing.

Neither Israel nor the PA are willing to accept—each for its own reasons—a situation in which the Hamas government is operating the crossing and not the Palestinian Authority.

For Israel this would mean recognizing the legitimacy of the Hamas government, whose main declared goal is to destroy Israel. For the PA this would mean abandoning any remnant of an official foothold in the Gaza Strip.

However, according to Ynet, the Hamas motives have not been so much political or national, but rather financial. Their contract with the new franchise owner calls for a stiff fee of 170 shekels ($45) to be turned over to Hamas for each truck entering Gaza.

The main reason given for the increase is a reduction of government revenues from tax collection, after most of Gaza’s smuggling tunnels have been destroyed in recent weeks, the result of intense Egyptian actions. The Egyptian military has been flooding those tunnels with sewer water.

The blocking of the tunnels was intended mostly to prevent the passage of weapons into and out of Gaza, but a supposedly unintended consequence has been the blocking of gasoline and other vital merchandize from entering the Strip, causing a sharp rise in consumer prices.

Should Israel stick to its guns, the civilian population in Gaza may be enduring yet another period of hunger and poverty.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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5 Responses to “Challenging Israel, Hamas Takes PA Border Crossing Station”

  1. The whole world moves from trouble to trouble. Iran continues unwavering on it’s march in the development of nuclear weapons and Assad the dictator of Syria is still in power. Current intelligence seems uncertain of when Iran will get the bomb and Israel cannot afford to gamble with this. Assad of Syria looks like he may be preparing to use weapons of mass destruction against his own people and against near by nations as well and Gaza seems more like an opportunity for Hamas to reload than it does a cease fire. If this situation does not drastically change soon for the better, I believe the war in Isaiah Chapter 17 will likely take place. Damascus Syria would be destroyed. The worlds economy would likely collapse as a result and usher in a one world government movement. I wrote a small 6 page book that outlines what I believe the Bible states will take place soon. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look: http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next.

  2. Eva Feld says:

    can the Palestinians be informed as who is holding up their goods at the border? That it is Hamas and not "their people". That it Hamas who are the core cause of their misery and poverty.

  3. Michael K-n says:

    HAMAS is a legal ruler of Gaza since democratic elections accepted worldwide.

    And folks deserve a government they have as ancient slogan said, with all consequences following.

    Michael Kerjman

  4. Phyllis J. Wimberley says:

    Israel needs to stick to its guns!

  5. No matter what.
    The wolrd will blame Israel for any problems.
    It seems that the world has not taken notice of all the food and other supplies Israel sends it's worst enemy.
    There are 400 trucks waiting to affload these supplies to Gaza.

    Why does Israel supply those who have an agenda to destroy Israel?
    Time for Israel to tell Hamas to eat sand, or change it's agenda, and surrender all their weapons and rockets, and to make peace with Israel.

    If they refuse, Israel should stop all supplies to the enemy.

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