Palestinians riot on Gaza border for third time in days, despite Israeli sanctions

Pedestrian crossing to remain closed for at least another day following renewed violence on frontier; 2 said to be wounded by IDF fire

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli soldiers at the Israel-Gaza border barrier, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on September 17, 2023. (Yousef Mohammed/ Flash90)
Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli soldiers at the Israel-Gaza border barrier, east of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on September 17, 2023. (Yousef Mohammed/ Flash90)

Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip rioted on the border with Israel on Monday afternoon, for the third time in days, despite Israeli sanctions and an airstrike on a post belonging to the Hamas terror group that rules the territory.

In response to the riot, the sole pedestrian crossing with the Gaza Strip — shuttered since Friday — would remain closed for at least another day, Israeli authorities announced Monday night.

The Israel Defense Forces said the rioters set fire to tires and detonated explosive devices on the security barrier.

Troops responded with crowd dispersal means and live fire in some cases.

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said two Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire.

Hamas appears to have resumed regular violent protests along the frontier, with an increasing number of riots in recent weeks.

The closed Erez Crossing, also known as the Beit Hanoun Crossing, between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip, on August 18, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

On Friday, the IDF carried out a drone strike against a Hamas observation post in the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rioting along the border.

On Sunday night, Israel announced the temporary closure of the Erez border crossing with the Palestinian enclave, in response to another riot.

According to the military’s liaison to the Palestinians, the Erez Crossing would not reopen for Palestinian workers on Monday morning, after it had been shuttered since Friday morning due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, known by its acronym COGAT, said Monday night that the crossing would not open on Tuesday morning either.

COGAT said the decision was made following an assessment of the situation by security officials and instructions by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi.

The crossing may reopen on Wednesday morning following a fresh assessment on Tuesday.

The closure affects 17,000 Gazans who have permits to enter Israel for work.

The recent riots have seen explosive devices being detonated on the security barrier and a handful of cases of gunfire toward Israeli troops. No IDF soldiers have been wounded.

Palestinian rioters burn tires during clashes with Israeli soldiers along the Israel-Gaza border on September 15, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

On Wednesday, six Palestinian rioters were killed, while attempting to detonate a makeshift bomb on the border during a riot.

The recent riots signal a return by Hamas and other terror factions in the Gaza Strip to a policy of regular mass protests and violence along the border, as Hamas seeks to draw attention to the worsening living conditions in the impoverished coastal strip after Qatar, one of the biggest donors of the regime, cut back on monthly disbursements.

Weekly protests along the frontier began at the end of March 2018 and continued almost every Friday until the end of 2019, with the demand that Israel lift its restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the coastal enclave, and a call for the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to lands that are now a part of the Jewish state.

Israel says its blockade of Gaza is necessary to prevent Hamas from freely arming itself for war and attacks.

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