Photo Credit: Attia Muhammed / Flash 90
Arab workers wait at the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip to enter Israel, March 13, 2022.

Israel announced Saturday that it has frozen a planned increase in the number of entry permits for Gaza workers and merchants.
The freeze came in response to the launching of four rockets at southern Israel early Saturday, including one intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system, indicating it was heading for a populated area.

Two of the rockets were aimed at Ashkelon and two were aimed at an area near Kiryat Gat, in the Lachish district.

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The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) which liaises with the Palestinian Authority, had announced expansion of the permits by an additional 1,500, to a total of 15,000, earlier this week.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz made the decision after a security assessment during the day with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva and COGAT Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian.

“The Hamas terror group bears responsibility for everything that is done in and emanates from the Gaza Strip toward the State of Israel, and it will bear the consequences,” COGAT said in announcing the freeze.

The last time Israel froze work permits in response to a rocket attack – last month — the suspension was lifted just four days later.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.