Tuesday, 17 July, 2018


Israel says closing Gaza’s main trade terminal in anti-Hamas crackdown

Palestinian Hamas militants attend a military drill in preparation to any upcoming confrontation wit Gaza blockade: Israel shuts goods crossings to pressure Hamas
Bennie Garza | 12 July, 2018, 15:11

Only humanitarian aid, medical supplies and food are being allowed in.

The crossing is Gaza's main entry point for trade.

Israel also said it was ending a seasonal expansion of the fishing zone off Gaza, returning it to six nautical miles instead of nine.

The Israeli government's decision to close the commercial crossing was an response to the flaming kites and balloons flying from Gaza into Israel, which caused large fires and losses in the Israeli territory.

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.

Organisers say the demonstrations are expressions of popular frustration that aim to press demands such as for Palestinians' right to lands lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its foundation and for an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza to ease.

Al-Ayyam said a new effort by Gazans to get ships out of the besieged enclave will be attempted on Tuesday, the second in a couple of months, in order to break the Israeli siege on Gaza.

"The arbitrary closure of the crossing would double the population's suffering", he added.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum rebuked the move in a statement released on its website "Benjamin Netanyahu's approval of additional measures to intensify the siege and prevent the entry of materials and goods to Gaza is a new crime against humanity", the statement read.

Israel briefly shut Kerem Shalom in May after dozens of Palestinian torched some of the terminal's facilities on the Gaza side of the border.

"The latest retaliatory measure by Israel made no mention to the fishing limit in Gaza, but we expect to hear from them on Tuesday", he said.

Human rights groups have accused Israeli troops of using excessive force. "There will be additional steps".

Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, called on the worldwide community to intervene immediately to prevent what it called a "new crime against humanity".

In recent weeks, Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting against the naval, aerial and land blockade imposed by Israel and neighboring Egypt since 2006. The al-Quds TV footage shows that the soldiers were at least 20 meters inside of the Gaza Strip when they shot the young men, who were at a protest inside the Gaza Strip and not trying to cross the fence as Israeli military officials claimed.

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