Gaza Strip border crossings
|Crosses||Israel-Gaza Strip barrier|
|Official name||Karni Crossing
|Maintained by||Israel Airports Authority
|Daily traffic||344 trucks (2007)|
|Blockade of the
|Viva Palestina "Lifeline 3"|
|Freedom Flotilla III|
The Karni Crossing (Arabic: معبر كارني or معبر المنطار, Hebrew: מעבר קרני) was a cargo terminal on the Israel-Gaza Strip barrier. It is located in the north-eastern end of the Gaza Strip and was opened in 1994 after the signing of the Oslo Accords, in order to allow Palestinian merchants to export and import goods. This was done as a 'back-to-back' transfer, meaning that Palestinian products meant for export are removed from a Palestinian truck and placed in an Israeli truck, or vice versa for incoming goods. The Karni Crossing was also used by the residents of Netzarim since the Karni road was the only route to that isolated Israeli settlement on which Jewish travel was allowed after the 1994 implementation of the Oslo Accords. Unlike the Erez Crossing, which is managed by the Israel Defense Forces, Karni is managed by the Israel Airports Authority. According to the management, the crossing is named after Joseph Karni, an Israeli who had set up a modern packing warehouse in the Gaza Strip near the present-day cargo terminal shortly after Israel captured the strip in 1967. The Palestinians call it “Al-Montar”, after the nearby Ali Montar hill. In the end of March, 2011, Karni crossing was permanently shut down by Israeli authorities.
The Karni terminal has been attacked several times by Palestinian terrorists since the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada, in either mortar attacks or frontal infantry assaults, forcing temporary shut-downs for repairs and enhancement of security procedures. Both Palestinians and Israelis have been killed in these attacks. As a passage point between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Karni crossing has been used for hostile activities by armed forces from the Palestinian side. Palestinian terrorists have used the Karni terminal to smuggle suicide bombers and explosive belts into Israel. The deadliest suicide attack to come via Karni was the Port of Ashdod bombing.
In 2006, the Israeli authorities closed the crossing for over 100 days, after the discovery of vast tunnelling from across the border to underneath the facility, meant to be filled with explosives and detonated. From September 2006 to June 2007, the crossing has been open daily save some brief closures due to Palestinian labour strikes.
When Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, much of the equipment on the Palestinian side was destroyed, and the terminal was closed by the Israeli authorities. The previous operators, who were affiliated with Fatah, have fled to the West Bank. Hamas has offered to bring Fatah back to Karni or hire a Turkish company to operate the Palestinian side, but Israel persistently refused to deal with Hamas, the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip. In June 2007, the UNWRA coordinator commended the IDF on moving humanitarian shipments to the secondary Kerem Shalom and Sufa crossings, and hoped that Karni could be reopened as part of a longer-term solution.
- *"Karni Terminal. General Information". Israel Airports Authority.
- Steven Erlanger, Taghreed El-Khodary, and Isabel Kershner (2007-07-19). "Gaza's Economy, Already Fragile, May Collapse Unless Crossings Are Reopened, U.N. Reports". The New York Times.
|Wikinews has related news: Suicide attack at Karni crossing between Gaza Strip, Israel|
- "Karni Terminal info". Israel Airports Authority.
- "Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Country Specific Information". Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
- Steve Erlanger (2007-09-19). "Isolation of Gaza Chokes Off Trade". The New York Times.
- Matthew Krieger (2007-08-08). "FICC calls on Olmert, Barak to reopen Karni crossing to Gaza". The Jerusalem Post.
- Greg Myre (2006-03-04). "Gaza Crossings: Choked Passages to Frustration". The New York Times.