The Erez crossing on the Gaza-Israel border was closed Sunday morning to Arab workers from Gaza, following the decision of the defense establishment Saturday night. This means that about 1,200 Gazans with work permits in Israel cannot enter. The security apparatus will conduct a situation assessment on Sunday to decide on the rest of the week based on developments.
On Saturday, the IDF reported the launch of one rocket from the Gaza Strip into Israel, which did not trigger an alarm. On Friday evening, two more rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel, one of which, according to the IDF, landed in an open area near the border fence on the Israeli side, and the other inside the Gaza Strip.
The IDF supports the opening of the Erez crossing as soon as possible for the entry of workers and traders from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Arabs from Gaza working in Israel earn relatively high wages compared to those in the Gaza Strip, and this has become the most significant stabilizing factor in the region.
The decision to reopen the crossing is in the hands of the political echelon and rests on the position of the defense establishment.
Deputy Defense Minister Alon Schuster (Blue & White) told Reshet Bet radio Sunday morning that Defense Minister Benny Gantz “leads a policy of civilian permissiveness, as long as we don’t get shot at.” He stressed that “Gaza has a stable Hamas government and the economic path is a lever worth examining – to the extent that the current relative calm will not continue.”
Former Shin Bet chief MK Avi Dichter (Likud) told Reshet Bet that “Hamas has undertaken to connect itself to the Temple Mount and is doing so with considerable success.”
Dichter added: “The Temple Mount is open to anyone who wants to get in and the lockdown on Judea and Samaria was imposed too late. The youth of eastern Jerusalem are the fuel and the illegal Arab infiltrators are the fire. This must be stopped before the last weekend of Ramadan.”
Early dawn Saturday, another rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel, the sixth rocket fired from Gaza in the past week. Israel has decided not to attack Gaza in retaliation for the last four launches, which fell in open areas in Israel and inside the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli media, the Southern Command recommended to the political echelon not to attack, and the new policy of the security apparatus appears to be that as long as those rockets don’t cause damage on Israel’s side, the most effective retaliation would be to block Arab workers from entering Israel.