Israel says closing Gaza's main trade terminal in anti-Hamas crackdown

12 Juillet, 2018, 14:55 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A program on al Quds TV

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

Israel announced on Monday it was shutting down the Gaza Strip's only commercial crossing and reducing its designated fishing zone, tightening the siege in the Palestinian enclave more than 100 days into large-scale demonstrations.

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.

Activists escort a boat carrying Palestinians injured during clashes along the Gaza security fence as it tries to break through Israel's naval blockade from the Gaza City harbor on July 10, 2018. "The occupation regime is responsible for the political, legal and security consequences of this decision".

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. "From fish and vegetables to clothing items and wood", he said.

The closure of the Karam Abu Salem border crossing will also affect Gaza's exports, further straining an already crippled economy brought to its knees by the 12-year blockade.

The military will also stop Gaza's fishermen sailing more than six nautical miles (11 km) offshore in the Mediterranean Sea, after having extended the limit to nine miles (17km) for the past three months.

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Israeli Knesset (Parliament) member said that the listing of al-Quds TV as "terrorist media" is, "the continuation of a silencing crusade by the extreme right-wing government to trample the freedom of speech".

But the boat was seized by Israel's navy a short time after setting off.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has been watching Gaza closely as it seeks to improve humanitarian conditions while sidelining Hamas, which is blacklisted as a terrorist group in the West.

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

"What's needed is pressure on the worldwide community".

Local authorities on the Palestinian side of the crossing said they were told by the Israeli side that only fuel, foodstuffs, health and medical materials, livestock and feeds would be allowed through the terminal. At least 145 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

Gaza health officials say more than 130 Palestinians have been killed and 15,000 others injured by Israeli forces during the protests.

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