Israel Eases Gaza Restrictions as Last Week’s Cease-Fire Holds

Israel eased restrictions on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip yesterday after last week’s cease-fire with Hamas survived claims of breaches by both sides.

At the same time, Israeli security forces extended a wave of arrests in the West Bank, detaining 83 Palestinians since the accord went into effect late on Nov. 21, according to an army spokeswoman speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity in line with military rules. Hamas said more than twice that many have been arrested.

The truce was tested last week when Hamas, which controls Gaza, said one Palestinian was killed and at least 19 injured after Israeli border guards opened fire. The group, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union, said it has complained to Egypt about the incident and won’t take further action. Israeli army spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said in a message on Twitter Nov. 23 that groups of Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip had hurled rocks and tried to damage the security fence.

Palestinian fishermen are being allowed to fish six miles (9.7 kilometers) from the Gaza coast, as opposed to three miles previously, Salah al-Bardaweel, a Hamas official, said by telephone. It’s the first time in three years that Israel has allowed fishing that far from the shore, Israel Army Radio reported.

An Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, declined to comment on the increase. Restrictions “are being dealt with in direct communications with the Egyptian government,” he said yesterday. Egypt, along with the U.S., brokered the deal to halt eight days of air and missile strikes that left more than 160 Palestinians and six Israelis dead.

Hamas MPs

Among the people arrested in the West Bank are suspects in a bomb attack on a Tel Aviv bus on Nov. 21, the army said. Hamas said in an e-mail yesterday that 230 people have been detained, including six Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament.

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, which operates 245 schools in Gaza, said on its website that they would all open yesterday and offer “increased services to traumatized children.”

The UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child said on Nov. 22 that the Gaza conflict will have a “devastating and lasting impact” on children on both sides. It said at least 26 children in Gaza were killed and more than 400 injured, while 14 children in southern Israel were wounded by Palestinian missiles.

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