Israel Closes Crossing Point Into Gaza, Halting Imports and Exports

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visits the offices of al Watan TV after a pre-dawn IDF raid in Ramallah on Wednesday. The computer screen on the right shows a soldier during the raid

"In agreement with the defense minister, we will act with a heavy hand against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip", Netanyahu said.

On Monday, Israel also closed its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip in response to weeks of fires at farms caused by kites and balloons carrying firebombs from the Palestinian enclave.

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 Israeli military issued its own separate statement, saying that Kerem Shalom would remain open to a limit amount of humanitarian aid during the cosure.

The spokesman went on to defend what he described as Israel's "naval cordon" on Gaza, calling it "necessary and legal... for maintaining Israel's security and its maritime borders".

Mahmud Abu Ataya, 25, who recently suffered a leg wound east of Gaza City, said: "I am leaving to be cared for overseas".

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Israeli news outlet Ynet said that the fishing zone outside of Gaza would be curtailed to six miles from land, citing a statement by the Israeli Defense Forces.

Israel's military said the prime minister had ordered the closure of Kerem Shalom on Monday "in light of the ongoing arson terror and additional terror attempts, led by the Hamas terror organization". "The regional and worldwide silence on the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than twelve years has encouraged the Israeli Occupation to continue its criminal actions in clear violation of human rights and global law".

Since protests and clashes broke out along the Gaza border on March 30, at least 139 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and more than 4,000 have been wounded by gunfire. "Therefore, Hamas calls on the global community to act immediately and prevent this crime and its unsafe consequences".

March organisers have rejected such allegations, stating that while Hamas has participated in the demonstrations like other Palestinian political factions, the group was not playing a leading role in the protests. New restrictions are likely to raise doubts among the Palestinians that Israel is in a mood to make a deal.

While the 1993 Oslo Accords set the designated fishing zone in Gaza at 20 nautical miles off the coast, Palestinian fishermen have seen the zone reduced between nine to three nautical miles under the siege.

The move tightens the blockade on Gaza, which has been in place since 2007.

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