Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ramping up efforts to block Hamas militants from thriving in the Gaza Strip by closing the border to prevent imports and exports to the area, according to Reuters on Monday.
Kerem Shalom border crossing, which connects the Gaza Strip to Israel and Egypt, is the only crossing for goods into Gaza. Netanyahu’s decision along with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman comes after Thursday’s attacks by Hamas militants who set fire to the forests and fields along the Gaza border using kites and helium-filled balloons, some of which contained explosive devices, according to reports by Haaretz News.
“In agreement with the defense minister, we will act with a heavy hand against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu announced during his party’s meeting Monday. (RELATED: Hamas Claims 50 Of 60 Killed On Gaza Border Were Terrorist Soldiers)
“We do not intend to take this and continue on in this fashion. I suggest that they first of all straighten out and stop the provocations along the fence and the fires,” Lieberman added.
Netanyahu has prohibited imports and exports to and from the Gaza Strip with the exception of those approved for humanitarian purposes on a case by case basis, according to Reuters. In addition, fishing off the Gaza coast would be limited as well until protests and uprisings are tamped down.
“Bolstering Gaza’s blockade equals to declaring a war. The resistance will not sit quietly in response,” Y Net News reported from a statement by Hamas on Monday.
The tensions between Israel and Palestine continue to grow even though the last war fought in Gaza against Hamas occurred in 2014. The violent protests at the border between Gaza and Israel are part of a six-week campaign called the “Great March of Return,” where Palestinians fight over blockades at the Gaza Strip as well as the U.S. decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The U.S. has a vested interest in improving humanitarian conditions in Gaza and ridding the region of Hamas terrorists.
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