Israel closes main Gaza goods crossing in response to arson attacks

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 11, 2018

Israel's navy seized a boat on Tuesday that had left from a Gaza port with wounded Palestinians aboard in a bid to challenge the blockade of the Hamas-run enclave.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesperson for the terror group Hamas, on Monday issued a statement saying "Benjamin Netanyahu's approval of additional measures imposed on the Gaza Strip to further tighten the siege and prevent the entry of goods into the already crippled coastal enclave is a new crime against humanity added to the record of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people".

The Israeli army said in a statement that Kerem Shalom would remain open for the transfer of approved humanitarian goods.

Only "humanitarian equipment", including food and medicine, will now be allowed through Kerem Shalom.

Netanyahu described the move as a crackdown on the Hamas Resistance Movement.

By which Hamas means Israel must not slap the dog that bites its hand.

Mahmud Abu Ataya, 25, who recently suffered a leg wound east of Gaza City, said: "I am leaving to be cared for overseas".

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Israel says it is necessary to stop Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.

"International and regional silence for the crime of the suffocating siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for (nearly) 12 years has encouraged the Israeli enemy to carry on with its criminal measures that violate human rights and global laws", Barhum added.

Since March, Palestinians in Gaza have been taking part in protests near the so called buffer zone.

Palestinians have been launching kites and balloons carrying containers of burning fuel and explosive devices over the Gaza-Israel border since April.

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

However, Israeli officials have been outraged by some demonstrators' use of incendiary kites and balloons, which they fly over the separation fence into Israel, claiming that the kites have sparked fires damaging some 7,000 acres of farmlands and forests. Gaza's economy relies on the local fishing industry for income.

The blockade, coupled with three devastating wars since 2009, has impacted Palestinians' livelihoods in Gaza - as high unemployment, barely existent power and water-treatment infrastructure, loss of agricultural lands and war-related trauma led the United Nations to warn in 2015 that Gaza would become "unliveable" by 2020.

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