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Israel to Provide Gaza with Fuel, Goods after Border Tensions are Reduced

Israel to Provide Gaza with Fuel, Goods after Border Tensions are Reduced

Sunday, 21 October, 2018 - 08:30
Israel orders the country's goods and people border crossings with Gaza to be opened. (Reuters)
Ramallah - Kifah Zboun
The Israeli army confirmed on Saturday its plan to re-pump fuel into the Gaza Strip as a “reward” for the reduced tensions during the weekly marches of return.

Defense officials are expected to take advantage of the relatively subdued nature of Palestinian protests near the Israel-Gaza border fence to try and resume the supply of fuel to the enclave, Haaretz reported.

On Sunday, Israel ordered the country's goods and people border crossings with Gaza to be opened, just four days after shuttering them following a Palestinian rocket attack that sparked retaliatory strikes.

"The decision comes after a decrease in the violent events in Gaza over the weekend and efforts Hamas made to restrain" demonstrators, a statement from Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's office read.

Officials believe the resumption of the fuel transports will be interpreted in Gaza as a sign of a change in approach.

The message that Israel will attempt to send is that if there is no violence, Gaza residents will be rewarded.

On Friday, the Hamas movement reduced the momentum of marches on the Gaza border with Israel in response to Egyptian and UN efforts to forge a new truce in the Strip.

Fewer protesters took part in the marches, which were less violent, in an indication of the Egyptians' success in reducing tensions, apparently in preparation for an imminent truce agreement.

Palestinian factions have succeeded in keeping the majority of the demonstrators at a distance from the border, as part of a plan to reduce the number of dead and injured.

Israeli defense officials said the protests were one of the most subdued in recent months.

Hamas operatives notably prevented people from crossing the fence and acting in ways which would provoke an escalation.

A small number of protesters approached the fence, with most staying behind in the tented area, which is several hundred yards from the border.

Sources pointed to the decrease in the throwing of Molotov cocktails, improvised explosive devices and hand grenades from the Palestinian side towards the Israeli forces during the confrontations.

However, the Fatah movement saw all this as an attempt by Hamas to exploit the marches to achieve its interests.

“Hamas transformed the marches of return to rallies in order to negotiate with the occupying state,” it said in a statement.

It accused Hamas of “changing the paths of the marches, adapting them to partisan agendas and strengthening Gaza's separation and entity,” while demanding a firm national stance from the national community.

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