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Israel Supreme Court denies Schalit family bid to keep Gaza crossings closed

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Israel [official website] Monday denied a request to suspend the opening of border crossings between the country and the Palestinian Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder]. The appeal was made by the father of Sgt. Gilad Schalit [advocacy website], an Israeli soldier held prisoner by Hamas [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] after being captured by the group in 2006, and it asked the government not to open the crossings until Schalit is released. The court ordered government officials to brief Schalit's family on the status of the negotiations, but said his release was not one of the conditions of the June 19 peace agreement between Israel the group. AP has more. Haaretz has local coverage.

The planned six-month cease-fire [IICC backgrounder] in the region was facilitated by Egypt and was agreed to by Israel and Hamas last week. If the agreement continues to go forward, more crossings between the two regions will open and more goods will be let through. In January UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] heavily criticized the embargo Israel had placed on Gaza, but the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the measures [JURIST reports] later that month.

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