Israel announces Gaza trade, fishing crackdown in anti-Hamas move

Israel announces Gaza trade, fishing crackdown in anti-Hamas move

Israel announces Gaza trade, fishing crackdown in anti-Hamas move

Israel has made a decision to close the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Gaza due to "launching of incendiary kites and other terrorist attempts", said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

The prime minister cited recent attacks launched from Gaza into Israel as the reason for closing imports and exports through the Kerem Shalom border crossing. He also says Tel Aviv will take additional steps but did not give any details.

Palestinian fishing boats prepare to attempt to sail for Europe, carrying people including students and medical patients unable to leave through overland crossings, as a protest against the blockade of Gaza, Tuesday, July 10, 2018.

Israel allowed for a slight expansion of the fishing zone limit from six to nine nautical miles three months ago.

Gate of Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, whose closure was announced on Monday.

Since Mar. 30, more than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army gunfire - and thousands more injured - while taking part in regular demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel security fence.

An Israeli military statement said the Palestinian fishing zone off Gaza would revert to 11 km after being temporarily expanded to 17 km.

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

"Should this situation continue, the measures will stay in place and intensify", it said.

Israeli authorities say the hundreds of arson kites and balloons sent over the border fence from Gaza have caused major damage to farms in the area.

Almost 140 people have been killed by Israeli gunfire during the popular demonstrations - dubbed the Great March of Return - that have been taking place along the fence separating Gaza from Israel.

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. The incendiary kites unit mentioned in a statement that Israel's aim to increase the siege to prevent the launching of more incendiary kites is proof of its failure to manage the conflict.

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