Diplomacy

Israel Reopens Commercial Crossing into Gaza as Relative Quiet Prevails Along Border

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday called on residents of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to maintain the relative quiet along the border with Israel that has been in place this week, The Times of Israel reported.

Liberman made the comments hours after Israel reopened the main cargo crossing into the coastal enclave, the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which was closed over a month ago in reaction to violent riots at the border, rocket attacks, and incendiary terror-kites which have destroyed thousands of acres of land in southern Israel.

“Calm pays, violence doesn’t,” Liberman wrote in an Arabic-language Facebook post, published on the page of Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, known as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

Since this morning, firefighters have worked to extinguish one blaze caused by an incendiary balloon that fell near Kibbutz Alumim. The balloon appears to be the first incendiary airborne device to spark a fire in Israeli territory since restrictions were lifted on Gaza – the coastal enclave in complete political and military control of the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas.

While Israel continues to explore arrangements that would restore peace along the border and improve the lives of Gazans, Israeli officials have insisted that any permanent arrangement would require serious changes on the ground.

In an op-ed published in The Hill on Tuesday, The Israel Project’s Vice President Lior Weintraub observed that “Life for Israeli civilians in border communities has become intolerable — fires, underground tunnels and terrorist infiltration attempts.” He explained that, although Hamas has shown tactical flexibility, the terrorist group “remains uncompromising ideologically” and is still committed to the “annihilation of the Jewish state.”

Weintraub offers three conditions that need to be met for peace to take hold.

First, he explored the option of “an artificial island off Gaza’s coast, a designated port in Cyprus, and support for generous aid packages that the United States and other international players are promoting.”

In addition, Weintraub urged the international community to step up their involvement, “led by the moderate Arab states.” According to him, “This would involve the carrot-and-stick approach — using sticks against Hamas and offering carrots to the Gazan population.”

Lastly, Weintraub observed “countries interested in improving the situation must condition their donations to Gaza with its demilitarization,” adding “Hamas cannot continue to be rewarded with generous funds. Money and commodities must reach civilians, not those involved in the industry of death.”

[Photo: ILTV ISRAEL DAILY / YouTube]