Palestinian protesters chant slogans as they march near the fence of the Gaza Strip border with Israel during a protest east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. AP
Israel said that it would be easing commercial restrictions on the Gaza Strip and expand entry of goods to the Palestinian enclave following days of heightened tensions.
The announcement came after hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Wednesday near the Israeli border, calling on Israel to ease a crippling blockade days after a similar gathering ended in deadly clashes with the Israeli army.
Hamas kept the crowds from approaching the barrier, and the protests ended without a repeat of Saturday's intense clashes that left one Palestinian dead and an Israeli border policeman critically injured after being shot from point-blank range.
The defense ministry body in charge of Israel's crossings with the Palestinian territory said in a statement late Wednesday that it would increase imports of new vehicles, goods and equipment for civilian projects in the Gaza Strip, and issue more permits for Gazan businessmen to enter Israel starting Thursday.
The easing of restrictions would be ``conditional upon the continued preservation of the region's security,'' and could be further expanded if the border situation improves, the body, known as COGAT, said.