Israeli forces on Tuesday reopened the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Gaza, after a week-long closure, a Palestinian official told Ma’an.
Palestinian Authority official Raed Fattouh said that the crossing will operate regularly on Tuesday, with 390 truckloads of goods set to enter Gaza and one truck of flowers to leave.
Israel closed the commercial crossing last Tuesday after a rocket was fired from Gaza toward Ashkelon in southern Israel, but agreed to reopen it Monday.
A dispute between Hamas and the company operating the crossing further delayed its opening. When the dispute was over, the franchise for operating the Gaza side of the crossing was taken away from the company with an authorization from the Palestinian Authority and given over to a company beholden to Hamas. That removed the last vestige of the PA’s official presence in the Gaza Strip. And Israel, which until Tuesday could pretend to only be dealing with Hamas indirectly, through the PA – is now dealing directly with Hamas.
Officials in Gaza told Ma’an that the Hamas government dismissed the company in charge of the terminal after a dispute over the collection of customs revenue.
The officials told Ma’an that Hamas wants to keep the taxes, which are usually paid to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria. Now everything will be going directly to the true rulers of Gaza, with Israel’s full support.
Truck drivers at Kerem Shalom told Ma’an that rivalries over control of the crossing were impeding their work. Now, thank God, peace is restored and the Hamas coffers will fill up again. Those coffers had gone bare recently, because the Egyptians are flooding the smuggling tunnels with sewer water, depriving Hamas of import fees on the smuggled goods