Humanitarian Fleet Seeks to Break Israeli Blockade on Gaza

Cheryl Sanders
July 12, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will be closing the Gaza Strip's main commercial crossing and limiting the Palestinian coastal enclave's fishing zone in response to the protests in form of incendiary balloons across the borders.

The Israeli army said in a statement that Kerem Shalom would remain open for the transfer of approved humanitarian goods.

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.

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

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.

Since protests and clashes broke out along the Gaza border on March 30, at least 139 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

Palestinians in Gaza, which the United Nations said would be "unliveable by 2020" have been demonstrating against Israel's decade-long blockade of the territory and in support of their right to return to lands they fled or were driven from during the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

Some seventeen people were by Israeli gunfire, according to AFP citing Gaza's health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra.

Among the passengers were four people said to have been wounded by Israeli soldiers during recent riots along the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.

"The Israeli side officially informed us that the shipment of goods and all kinds of products are banned except for food, medical aid, wheat, livestock and fuel", said Fattouh.

"We do not intend to continue absorbing and continuing with this situation", Lieberman said in separate comments to his own parliamentary faction. Almost half of the deaths occurred amid intense violence on May 14, when the U.S. moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem.

"There will be additional steps which I won't detail", he added. "Therefore, Hamas calls on the worldwide community to act immediately and prevent this crime and its unsafe consequences".

Egypt closely cooperates with Israel in maintaining the siege by keeping Rafah, Gaza's only land terminal that bypasses Israel, closed most of the time.

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

Other reports by iNewsToday