Israeli officials say they are working on ways to boost the flow of construction materials into Gaza and are considering allowing exports to Israel and the West Bank.
In the meantime, the tunnels are feverishly bringing in building materials for private use.
The lone crossing between Egypt and Gaza does not handle cargo.
Israeli officials say all limitations on trade are purely the result of security concerns.
These concerns are evident in the unconventional arrangement at Kerem Shalom, a sprawling maze of courtyards surrounded by huge concrete slabs. Israeli security men are on the premises, and there is no direct contact between Israeli and Palestinian officials.
The crates of cargo - anything from fruits and vegetables to refrigerators, construction materials and fuel - are inspected on the Israeli side, then placed on “sterile” trucks that are never allowed out of the crossing.
Palestinian drivers from Gaza with special security clearance then drive the trucks 500 yards to the Gaza border, where the goods are transferred to Palestinian trucks.
All trade is ostensibly between private parties, though all trucks pass Hamas security and customs checks on the other side of the border.
The process at Kerem Shalom is inefficient, slowed by the security checks. Situated at the meeting place of the Israeli, Egyptian and Gazan borders, the crossing frequently has been closed because of attacks by Palestinian militants. In April 2008, multiple assaults included a twin car bombing that wounded 13 soldiers.
“There is no simple solution to a complex problem, and these problems are very complex,” Israeli Defense Ministry Director-General Udi Shani told the Associated Press.
Critics, however, say Israel could be doing much more to boost traffic. They suggest that politics, not just security, are driving the decision making.
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