While the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip remains partially opened, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Thursday that he is indefinitely forbidding its use to import fuel or gas into the besieged strip.
Lieberman’s statement said that the ban was done because of incendiary balloons crossing the border, and continuing tension at the Gaza border fence. He said this would pressure Hamas into doing more to stop the balloons.
This came despite Israel having reopened the crossing only a week ago, citing the decreasing number of balloons and declining tensions at the border. Though some balloon fires have been reported in southern Israel in recent days, it is far fewer than before.
Lieberman now says that limits on goods entering Gaza will be intensified, and that Israel insists on total quiet in Gaza before they will ease the restrictions any further. At present, the crossing allows only limited food and medicine to enter.
The Gaza blockade is a long-standing issue, with Israel having limited access to virtually everything entering Gaza for many years. Reports of ongoing talks through the UN seeking a Gaza ceasefire in the long-term were meant to allow Gaza a seaport, though Israel has suggested this will not be allowed even with peace, and that they prefer any shipments intended for Gaza to go to Cyprus first, thing only enter Gaza if Israel wants to allow it.
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