Israel closes Gaza goods crossing over Palestinian arson kites

Lester Mason
July 10, 2018

Israel announced on Monday it was shutting down the Gaza Strip's only commercial crossing and reducing its designated fishing zone, tightening the siege in the Palestinian enclave more than 100 days into large-scale demonstrations.

Mr Netanyahu said he and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman had agreed to be "heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip - immediately".

The closure of Kerem Shalom will not include humanitarian aid, food and medicine, approved on an individual basis by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Kamil Abu Rokon. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says Tel Aviv will shut down the Kerem Shalom crossing with immediate effect. "The regional and worldwide silence on the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than twelve years has encouraged the Israeli Occupation to continue its criminal actions in clear violation of human rights and global law". In a significant step, today we are closing the Kerem Shalom crossing.

The decision comes in response to continued arson terror perpetrated by Gazan terrorists via incendiary kites and balloons sent from Gaza into Israeli territory as well as other attempts at terror attacks, such as firing rockets. "There will be additional steps".

A Hamas spokesman called the Israeli move "a new crime against humanity".

"Hamas calls on the worldwide community to intervene immediately to prevent this crime", Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum said in a statement. Israel will also severely limit the ability of Palestinians to fish off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

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).

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

Tear gas is fired at protestors during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Gaza City on 14 May 2018, following the controversial move to Jerusalem of the United States embassy.

People taking part in more than three months of protests at the Gaza border have started scores of fires by sending the balloons and kites into Israel, vexing its advanced military which is used to dealing with more conventional weapons.

But Palestinians view the cheap, flying devices to be a tool of resistance against the well-armed Israeli forces stationed behind the fence that have killed at least 136 Palestinians since the beginning of the March of Return.

Israel deems the protests a bid by Hamas to deflect scrutiny from Gaza's governance problems and provide cover for armed border attacks. A separate crossing, known as Erez, is for people.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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