Israel + 1 more

Israel to reopen key Gaza crossing in both directions

JERUSALEM, May 17, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz has decided to reopen a main commercial crossing on the eastern Gaza border with Israel in both directions, local newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.

The Karni crossing has been kept closed by Israel for most of the past three and a half months due to repeated warnings of planned attacks by Palestinian militants.

The terminal has been opened recently, but only for transfer of goods from Israel into Gaza.

Peretz's decision made overnight Tuesday will allow goods to also travel in the other direction-- from the Gaza Strip into Israel, said the report.

It is not clear when the decision will go into effect.

Earlier this month, some Palestinian farmers appealed to Israel 's High Court of Justice to reopen the Karni crossing to help ease battered economy in the Gaza Strip, from which Israel withdrew last summer.

The petitioners, who made the appeal through several rights groups in Israel, said that the closure of the crossing had caused a loss of more than 24 million U.S. dollars to the Palestinian economy.