Gaza violence: Crossings reopen after negotiated ‘calm‘

Israel has reopened two boundary crossings with Gaza, a week after closing them due to a rocket attack.

The Kerem Shalom commercial crossing and the Erez transit point were reopened on Sunday morning.

The past week has seen increased violence. Israel retaliated for the rocket attack by Palestinian militants in Gaza, and three Palestinians died in border protests.

The reopening of the crossings came amid mediation efforts by Egypt.

Restrictions on fishing off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza have also been lifted, the Times of Israel reports.

But the fragility of the “calm” negotiated by Egypt was illustrated by further overnight firing, though no-one was hurt.

Israel said five rockets were launched from Gaza at the Eshkol region but it has not been confirmed which group carried out the attack. Israel fired on Hamas posts in response.

The rocket attack which prompted Monday‘s border closure and the Israeli military response struck a house in a village near Tel Aviv leaving seven people injured.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians protested along the Gaza border on Saturday, marking one year since the start of border demonstrations.

The protests are to push for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

According to Palestinian officials, three protesters were shot dead by Israeli troops during the protests, and another another was killed earlier on Saturday.

The Israeli Defense Forces said explosive devices had been thrown over the border fence.

Israeli forces had responded with “riot dispersal means” and live bullets.

Israel says Hamas is a terrorist group and accuses it of using the demonstrations as a cover to cross into its territory and carry out attacks.

According to the UN, at least 189 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed in similar protests between March and December 2018.

The latest Egyptian-mediated negotiation saw Hamas agree to ensuring the protests do not escalate in return for Israel allowing the flow of goods across the Gaza border to resume, Palestinian officials say.