Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Israel announces Gaza sanctions in response to cross-border blazes

A program on al Quds TV A program on al Quds TV
Jeannette Daniel | 11 July, 2018, 22:37

A picture taken on May 29, 2018 shows fishing boats carrying a group of Palestinian activists who are protesting Israel's naval blockade on Gaza, setting to sail from Gaza City harbor.

But the Defense Minister and I agree that we will be heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip - immediately.

Israel will shut down the Gaza Strip's main trade terminal in a new crackdown on the region.

Gazans began launching the kites as part of protests along the border calling for Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes now inside Israel.

A government official told Al Jazeera that humanitarian products such as cooking gas, wheat and flour would be allowed to continue crossing into Gaza.

Israel also cut the area fishing boats are allowed to operate off Gaza's Mediterranean coast and blacklisted what it described as a pro-Hamas TV channel. "There will be additional steps. There will be other steps which I won't detail", he said.

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

An Israeli military statement said the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza would revert to 11 km (6 miles) after being temporarily expanded to 17 km (9 miles). "Therefore, Hamas calls on the global community to act immediately and prevent this crime and its unsafe consequences". The announcements on Monday, including closing the Kerem Shalom crossing point between Israel and Gaza, is retaliation for the kites and balloons, but it remains to be seen whether the retaliatory acts will prevent them. During the first march, 16 Palestinians were killed and hundreds were wounded.

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.

Following the Palestinian power struggle, Israel imposed a stringent siege on Gaza in 2007 - supported by Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi - restricting the movement of people and civilians in and out of the coastal territory, and installing land and sea "buffer zones" in Gaza.

Israeli naval forces on Tuesday intercepted a Palestinian humanitarian flotilla that attempted to break the years-long blockade of Gaza.

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