Aid trucks enter Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing (file)
Aid trucks enter Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing (file) Flash 90

Israel has begun increasing its activity with Palestinians in Gaza, particularly with new investments and renovations to border crossings, Walla! News reported Thursday morning. 

The Defense Ministry's Director General, Maj. Gen. Dan Harel recently authorized the transfer of 20 million shekels ($5 million) to the Border Crossings Authority headed by Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun. 

The funds will be used to expand operations at the Kerem Shalom Crossing for the transfer of goods and merchandise and the Erez Crossing for pedestrian use. 

Since the end of Operation Protective Edge, and the Gaza restoration project, efforts have been made to increase the number of goods-loaded trucks driven from Israel into Gaza. These trucks carry building materials, food, and clothing. 

As of now, there is a daily average of 400 trucks passing through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, bringing in 1,200 tons of cement to Palestinians living in Gaza. Israel's goal is to double that number to approximately 800 trucks per day carrying 4,000 tons of cement. 

By the end of the project, they estimate the number to grow to 1,100 trucks daily. 

The Erez Crossing, built in 2007 and capable of handing 45,000 people a day, has failed to realize that potential, as a result of the strained security situation and the Hamas takeover of Gaza. 

Today, it currently only handles several hundred Palestinians a day, most of these either residents under the Palestinian Authority's jurisdiction, ill patients, and merchants. Foreign nationals, mainly from Egypt, also use this crossing. 

However, if the security situation improves, plans have already been approved to renovate the Erez Crossing thereby enabling thousands to pass through ever day. 

Advanced security technology will be installed including new baggage screening machines as well as other measures. 

The Defense Ministry is also considering the possibility of renewing entry permits into Israel for thousands of workers in order to reduce the economic pressure in Gaza. Council heads in the Western Negev have agreed in principle to the idea. 

The Erez Crossing is expected to meet these goals by the end of 2015.