Israel places new limitations on cargo crossing into Gaza (1)

Arturo Kim
July 19, 2018

Days after the heaviest exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 conflict, Israel said it was blocking until Sunday fuel and gas deliveries through its only goods crossing with the enclave.

The measure will apply until Sunday "in light of the continued terror efforts of Hamas", but essential food and medicine deliveries will still be able to get through, the Ministry of Defense said.

Over the last few months, Palestinians in Gaza have flown thousands of kites and balloons attached to incendiary devices that have set off hundreds of fires in farm lands and nature reserves along the border with Gaza, destroying tens of thousands of dunams.

While the Oslo agreement signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993 allows Gazans to fish up to 12 nautical miles in the Mediterranean Sea, Israel unilaterally reduced this area after it imposed the crippling siege on Gaza in 2006 to only three miles.

Amidincreasing tensions in the Palestinian territory over the weekend, Israeli violence against children in the blockaded Gaza Strip has come to the fore once again.

Lately, Israel was criticized by a United Nations human rights body for its killing of protesters in Gaza and treatment of Palestinians, declaring it a "war crime" under the Statute of Rome.

They also demand an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal territory's economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of basic commodities.

Israel has tightened restrictions on its only cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip, after Palestinians carried out fresh attacks with incendiary balloons.

To date, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other observers, 138 Palestinians have been killed in IDF attacks on the protests and at least 15,000 wounded.

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"The Israeli occupation would be playing with fire if its warplanes targeted kite flyers", Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

"People's life (in Gaza) has become more hard as people have limited money, the economy has collapsed, electricity and water are scarce", he said.

The military sees the closing of the lone border crossing as pressuring the civilians, and wants the government to give it time.

"Anyone who wanders around the world attacking IDF (Israel Defence Forces) soldiers, will not enter a school", Bennett said in a statement.

Hamas is also leading protests along the Gaza border in which over 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in recent months.

"Nothing happens in Gaza without the consent of Hamas", said Gabi Siboni of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies think tank.

This too has been nearly completely closed since jihadists launched an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula after the military overthrew Egypt's elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Critics accuse it of disproportionate force against protesters.

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