Following an eight day long conflict between fighters of Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces, which led to a ceasefire, Israel eases restrictions in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas political bureau chief, Moussa Abu Marzook, stated in his Cairo office that Hamas will not stop producing weapons, or smuggling them into the blockaded Gaza Strip. "These weapons protected us and there is no way to stop obtaining and manufacturing them," Marzook stated in an interview to Mohammed Daraghmeh and Sarah El Deeb of the Associated Press. Israeli officials confirm to Ynet News the easing of some restrictions on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians reported that Israeli authorities allowed them to visit their farmland, near the Israeli border fence, fishermen were also allowed to sail out several thousand additional feet off the coast.
Google map screenshot
Red line denotes how far Gaza fisherman are now allowed to fish off the coast of the Gaza Strip
As part of the truce, Israel and its arch enemy in the Gaza Strip, Hamas are to negotiate a further easing of restrictions, about which negotiations are to begin Monday.
Previously, Gazan fishermen had been allowed only to fish three nautical miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip. Since the truce with Hamas, Israel has allowed fishermen to fish six nautical miles off the coast, according to Mahfouz Kabariti who represents 3,500 fishermen in Gaza. "This is an opportunity and a chance for a better catch, though it is still a limited area," Kabariti said.
Already farmers in Gaza are making plans for more farming, after visiting their land, which Israel put into a buffer zone several years ago. Gaza Strip farmer, Nidal Abu Dakka stated to the AP that while he inspected his farmland, Israeli soldiers stood careful watch. Abu Dakka, however said by phone, he plans to plant wheat and barley soon.
The Defense Ministry, according to Ynet stated that Israel was no longer enforcing the buffer zone, but 'reserved the right to take action against suspicious people.'
On November 23, Israel violated the truce by killing a Palestinian and wounding nine others in a shooting on the border. Abu Adnan Salmia, a Gaza health official stated that the dead Palestinian man was simply picking up damaged Israeli jeep parts, alongside the others who were wounded.
For its part, the Israeli side of the story was hard to discern, the Defense Ministry stated there were isolated attempts by Palestinians to infiltrate the border, into Israel. However the Defense Ministry would not elaborate on whether or not the Palestinians shot on Friday were infiltrators.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev stated upon the truce being declared, that barring any attacks by Hamas the Israeli military would not strike. "if there's no hostility from Gaza there's no reason for Israel to act," Regev stated according to NPR.
Despite the incident, Hamas held its fire and did not retaliate against Israel.
Children in Gaza also returned to the 245 schools operated by the United Nations, since the conflict with Israel ended Wednesday. In Operation Pillar of Defense, 167 Palestinians died, including 34 children with nearly a thousand injured. The conflict left 5 dead in Israel, including one IDF soldier, and 219 wounded.