Israel shuts primary Gaza crossing over border violence

Pauline Gross
July 12, 2018

Israel's military said the Kerem Shalom crossing is shut until further notice except for humanitarian aid, medical supplies and food.

He warned that the decision to prevent export and import through the commercial crossing on the border between the southeastern Gaza Strip and Israel will double the suffering of the people in Gaza.

It added that the move was also due to "additional terror attempts", referring to infiltrations and other incidents along the Gaza border.

"In agreement with the defense minister, we will act with a heavy hand against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip", Netanyahu said.

"There will be additional steps. I am not detailing them". Hamas, a Palestinian political movement, slammed Netanyahu's decision by describing it as a crime against humanity.

"Hamas urges the worldwide community to immediately intervene", said Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist group by Israel and the West.

"The expansion of the designated fishing zone in the Gaza Strip for the past three months during the fishing season, from six to nine naval miles, ends today and will not be extended". Israel says it has lost 7,000 acres of forests and farmland to the kite- or balloon-set fires.

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A spokesman for Israel s fire service says 750 fires have burned 2,600 hectares, putting the damage at millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars/euros).

Releasing flaming kites and balloons from Gaza into Israel was part of what the Palestinians call "the Great March of Return" rally, which began on March 30.

Palestinians see the strategy as a way of inflicting economic damage on Israel in protest without risking their lives by approaching the border fence.

At least 135 Palestinians, including 14 children, have been killed during the protests, which uphold Palestinians' right to return to their homes in the lands occupied by Israel. The woman was holding a picture of her 15-year-old daughter, who was killed by Israeli gunfire during the deadly May protest.

The sanctions come at a time of escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, created by a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt since 2007.

The crossing, which would usually be sealed off during official Israeli holidays and on weekends, also aided in the delivery of foreign aid to Gaza.

The "Freedom Boat 2" is the second humanitarian flotilla to set out from blockaded Gaza since Palestinians first began holding regular rallies along the Gaza-Israel security fence on March 30.

Other reports by GizPress

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