Israel has no intention of reopening its two borders with the Gaza Strip after the war against Hamas, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told reporters.
“The understanding in Israel is that there will be no more contact between Israel and Gaza,” Cohen told reporters at a briefing on Monday. “There will not be a connection of goods and there will not be a connection of people, including workers,” he declared.
The borders are the only links between Israel and the Gaza Strip since the IDF (Israeli Security Forces) left the enclave, which is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in 2005.
The border at Kerem Shalom is the main commercial route for goods entering and leaving Gaza, while the one at Erez is for pedestrian crossings. Egypt controls the third land crossing, at Rafah, but it is not designed for heavy commercial use.
Israel closed Kerem Shalom and Erez after the October 7 attack, in which Hamas infiltrated southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 people and taking 239 hostages.
Cohen’s statement to reporters was one of the first indications that Israel does not plan to reopen these crossings even after the hostages are released.
Around 75% of the population in the Gaza Strip depends on humanitarian aid, which was sent across the borders, to survive — a number that could increase after the war.
To journalists, Cohen said he favors a plan now under serious discussion whereby goods would enter and leave Gaza via a new sea route established between the enclave and Cyprus.
It has long been argued that Gaza would benefit from a sea route rather than relying on expensive land transport of goods.
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