Israel allows 3,000 more entry permits for Gaza merchants

Israeli authorities raise the quota of permits for Gazan traders to enter Israel by an additional 3,000 to a total of 10,000, in the latest easing of Israeli restrictions on the coastal enclave.

“The decision to increase the quota of merchants was made by the political echelon following a security assessment on the matter,” says Israel’s liaison to the Palestinians, widely known by its acronym COGAT.

Israel and Egypt have placed tight controls on movement in and out of Gaza for nearly a decade and a half. Israel says the blockade is necessary to prevent an even greater threat from Gaza’s Hamas rulers, while human rights groups lament its impact on Palestinian civilians in the impoverished enclave.

Earlier this month, rumors that Israel intended to issue work permits to Gazans brought crowds of tens of thousands seeking to apply. The trading permits are intended for Gaza merchants to buy and sell their wares, although nonprofit watchdogs contend that some passes have been issued to day laborers.

Illustrative: Palestinians are seen on the Israeli side of the Erez Crossing near the border with the Gaza Strip on September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

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