After months of complaints by residents, Israeli officials will finally begin limiting truck traffic on roads leading to the Kerem Shalom checkpoint into Gaza. The new rules, effective May 2, will keep trucks weighing 12 tons or more from driving along the narrow highway between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Those are the hours that farmers, schoolchildren, and commuters are on the road, which has largely been taken over by the large trucks that bring products to Gaza. Many residents have complained of aggressive driving behavior on the part of truck drivers, and especially the high and dangerous speeds many drive on their way to Gaza.
Without a port of its own, Gaza’s goods are off-loaded at Ashdod port and brought by truck to Gaza. Delays at the checkpoint can be long, as security officials inspect the merchandise entering the Strip very carefully, so drivers attempting to remain on schedule speed to the checkpoint, with dozens of trucks lining up at Kerem Shalom every day.
Many residents have complained of the dangerous driving behavior in the media, and in response Transport Minister Yisrael Katz announced the new rules, in the hope that they would reduce the number of accidents on the road.