Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing into the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, August 15, allowing commercial goods and fuel to enter the territory after a month-long closure; prior to August 15, only humanitarian deliveries were permitted via the crossing. The move comes amid an apparent de-escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas in recent days, facilitated by Egyptian-brokered negotiations. Despite such developments, a resumption of cross-border attacks is possible along the Israel-Gaza border in the coming weeks and border crossings may close with little notice.
The initial closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing on July 17 came in retaliation against cross-border incendiary kite and balloon attacks launched by Palestinians toward Israel. The closure also came after intense cross-border fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters on July 14, which left at least two Palestinians dead and 14 others wounded, in addition to wounding four Israelis.
A spike in tensions and protests has been observed in the Palestinian Territories in the wake of US President Donald Trump's December 2017 announcement that the US would officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a departure from the previous US and international position of neutrality on the status of the city claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians - and would move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The new embassy was officially opened on May 14.
Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to monitor developments to the situation. Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
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