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10 Jul, 2015

Senior Israeli Military Officers Recommend Easing Gaza Border Restrictions

TEL AVIV, July 8, 2015 (WAFA) – Several senior Israeli military officers Wednesday recommended taking measures to ease restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip, reported Israeli media.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported on unnamed senior Israeli military officers recommending that the opening of Gaza border crossings be expanded.

The recommendations involve allowing “thousands of Palestinians to travel abroad by entering Israel via the Erez crossing and leaving the country to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge,” as well as permitting “merchandise into Gaza through the Karni crossing and expand]ing[ the use of the Kerem Shalom crossing.”

They would also involve issuing permits “for Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to work in Israeli communities near the border.”

The unnamed believe that such measures “could help achieve relatively long-term quiet” and “could have added value in reducing international criticism of Israel over its closure of the Gaza Strip.”

One of the senior officers, who chose to remain unidentified, was quoted in Haaretz as saying: “As long as the basic economic problems in Gaza remain, we will also have the potential for renewed military conflict, without connection to the extent of deterrence achieved in the last war.”

The newspaper reported however that it is uncertain whether Israel will have the political will to implement such measures.

A number of Palestinian analysts and politicians commented on the Israeli proposal, saying that lifting the Israeli blockade on the strip, and not merely easing it, is an unquestionable national right.

They warned of falling into the unilateral Israeli scheme, through which Israel attempts to dictate the reality of internal division between the strip and the rest of the West Bank.

Palestinian political analyst, Ahmad Awad, told WAFA that this Israeli plan is part of an economic bribery that Israel is using as an alternative for reaching a permanent political solution that guarantees the Palestinian eligible rights.