Israel to reopen Gaza crossing after closing it over rockets

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel said Monday it will reopen its border crossing with the Gaza Strip to Palestinian workers after closing it for several days following rocket attacks from the Palestinian enclave.

COGAT, the Israeli military body coordinating civilian affairs in Gaza, said the opening of the Erez Crossing on Tuesday would be conditioned “on the maintenance of a stable security situation in the area.”

In recent months, Israel had issued thousands of work permits to Palestinians from Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces nearly 15 years ago.

Israel grants permits to some 12,000 Palestinians in Gaza and over 100,000 to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, mostly for work in construction and agriculture. The job permits have been an economic lifeline for thousands of Gazan families and were considered to be a key factor in maintaining stability before the latest fighting broke out.

The decision to close the border came after days of rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinians following a string of deadly attacks inside Israel, arrest raids in the West Bank, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, and the first rocket attacks into Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in months.

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