Gaza City (AP): Israel on Monday eased some restrictions on the Gaza Strip that have threatened a fragile cease-fire which halted an 11-day war last month with the territory’s Hamas rulers, Palestinian officials said.
They said 11 truckloads of clothes were exported through Kerem Shalom crossing for the first time in 40 days. On Sunday, Israel said it will allow limited agricultural exports from Gaza.
The easing also included the resumption of mail service in and out of Gaza, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Since the 11-day war in May between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, thousands of Gazan passports and other essential paperwork had accumulated on the way to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority for further processing.
Other restrictions by Israel remain in place. They include restrictions on the zone for Gaza fishermen, a limit on the number of medical patients who can get treatment in Israel or the West Bank, and a ban on raw materials for Gaza industries.
Egypt brokered the cease-fire that went into effect on May 21, ending the fourth war between Israel and Hamas since the militant group seized power in Gaza in 2007.
Hamas has been calling for significant easing of the blockade. Last week, Hamas-linked activists launched incendiary balloons across the border, burning farmland and triggering Israeli airstrikes despite the cease-fire. Egypt is continuing its efforts to cement the shaky truce.
On Sunday, Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, warned Hamas that Israel would not tolerate even minor attacks from Gaza.
The war started when Hamas fired salvos of rockets toward Jerusalem and other Israeli towns last month. Hamas says the attacks were a response to Israeli police raids and heavy-handed policy against Muslim worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and planned evictions of Palestinian families from an Arab neighbourhood.
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