In light of attacks on the Gaza Strip’s Karni Crossing, the latter will be closed in the following months and the southern Kerem Shalom Crossing will be expanded, enabling a growth in imports and exports to the Strip.

 Problems ensuring security lead to Karni closing

 

Photo: IDF Spokesperson

Communicated by IDF Spokesperson

Activity at the Gaza Strip’s Karni Crossing is set to be terminated in the next few weeks. Activity will be relocated to the Kerem Shalom Crossing near the southern Gaza Strip, a result of recent security threats at Karni. Since the onset of 2011, tens of shootings, mortar shells and Qassam rocket landings have been recorded at or near the crossing. 

Despite the change, COGAT preparations have ensured that import and export rates of the Gaza Strip will not be affected. In fact, the Kerem Shalom Crossing will be expanding and branching out. Thus, for example, during the second half of 2011, approximately 450 larger import and export trucks will pass through the crossing every day. This is a 344% percent increase over the number of trucks entering and leaving over the same period of time last year. COGAT also mentioned that demand for Gaza Strip exports might rise.

"It’s important to mention that many attacks took place in the Karni region," explains Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, during a briefing he held for foreign press at the District Coordinator and Liaison Erez.

"We’ve determined that the region is one of the most difficult to secure. Hamas and other terrorist organizations carry out diverse terrorist activities in the area and it became difficult not only to secure the crossing but also to enable the local Israeli civilian population to live peacefully." 

But a troubling new trend has been growing at the southern crossing. "Recently, even at the Kerem Shalom Crossing we are seeing attacks. Some of the rockets land in central regions of the crossing," said COGAT.

The crossing’s expansion is expected to be complete in the next few months. It will be equipped with numerous infrastructures such as places to work on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, new traffic routes, more manpower and means of transportation and facilities. Altogether, the Ministry of Defense has invested approximately 100 million shekels on the Kerem- Shalom project.