Israel to renew supply of Qatari fuel to Gaza as border violence wanes
Three days after border crossings reopened, defense minister’s office announces further step to help beleaguered Strip
Israel will renew the supply of Qatari-purchased fuel into the Gaza Strip starting Wednesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s office said Tuesday evening, following relative calm this week along the border.
“In accordance with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s decision from Sunday and in accordance with recommendations from security bodies, it has been decided that the supply of ‘Qatari fuel’ to Gaza will be renewed starting tomorrow,” the office said in a statement.
Israel reopened the crossings into Gaza on Sunday, allowing people and goods in and out of the coastal enclave. Liberman’s office said at the time that a decision was yet to be made whether to allow fuel into the Strip.
“The decision… was postponed at this time and will be considered in a few days, depending on incidents [along the border],” Liberman’s office had said.
The defense minister had ordered the Erez pedestrian crossing and Kerem Shalom goods crossing closed last Wednesday, after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip exploded outside a home in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba and another landed in the sea off the coast of the greater Tel Aviv area.
The past weekend saw a significant decrease in the amount of violence along the Gaza security fence compared to previous weeks, both in terms of the number of people participating in border riots and the intensity of the clashes.
Israeli defense officials described the demonstrations as some of the quietest since the wave of protests dubbed the “March of Return” began on March 30.
Israeli officials believe Hamas has changed its policies regarding the clashes and was working toward curbing violence at the rallies, which have become a near-daily occurrence, Hadashot TV news reported Friday.
Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have participated in a series of protests and riots that have mostly involved the burning of tires and rock-throwing along the security fence, but have also seen shooting attacks and bombings as well as the sending of incendiary balloons and kites into Israel.
Some 157 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more have been injured in the clashes with IDF troops, according to AP figures. Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, has acknowledged that dozens of the dead were its members. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a sniper on the border earlier this year.
Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.