Friday, 16 November, 2018

Israel seizes boat from Gaza seeking to break blockade

Gaza blockade: Israel shuts goods crossings to pressure Hamas Israel Closes Crossing Point Into Gaza, Halting Imports and Exports
Deanna Wagner | 12 July, 2018, 14:55

Israel is ramping up its crackdown on the Islamic terror group Hamas.

Israel closed its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday over weeks of fires at farms caused by kites and balloons carrying firebombs from the Palestinian enclave.

More than 130 Palestinians have been killed, including children, and thousands injured during the three-month-long protest at the border.

The crossing, which would usually be sealed off during official Israeli holidays and on weekends, also aided in the delivery of foreign aid to Gaza.

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Netanyahu said he and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had made a decision to "act with a heavy hand against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip". "The occupation regime is responsible for the political, legal and security consequences of this decision".

Israel's military said the Kerem Shalom crossing is shut until further notice except for humanitarian aid, medical supplies and food. "From fish and vegetables to clothing items and wood", he said.

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The Israeli government also chose to reduce the area allowed for fishing in the sea of Gaza from nine nautical miles to six nautical miles, according to the Israeli media. "I will not go into details", he said in parliament.

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.

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch's Israel-Palestine director, said the economic measure by Israel was an act of "collective punishment".

This is the second flotilla that has been sent to Gaza since May 29th, where the Israeli naval forces intercepted the first flotilla and arrested 17 passengers on board.

"What's needed is pressure on global community".

Most recently, Quds-TV released footage of Israeli soldiers shooting and then dragging the bodies of Palestinian protesters near the border fence in Gaza - footage that directly contradicted the Israeli military's claims that the young men had tried to cross the border fence and that is why they were shot.

At least 135 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 with Israel.