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Gaza's main crossings closed

July 17, 2018 1:34 P.M. (Updated: July 20, 2018 3:29 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom crossing in the northern besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday until a further notice.

The closing of Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza's main commercial crossing, came only one week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to impose severe economic sanctions on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu's decision was four months after the launch of incendiary kites and explosive balloons from the strip into southern Israel, which has scorched thousands of acres of land along the borders.

The decision includes the temporarily suspension of imports and exports with the exception of basic humanitarian supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Netanyahu's decision also reduced the allowed fishing zone from six to three nautical miles.

The decision also came only one week after Israel decided to significantly decrease the amount of goods, food and medicine entering the Gaza Strip, as one of the measures meant to pressure the Palestinians into halting the Great Return March processions.

The UN had warned that Netanyahu’s decision could escalate the conflict with Gaza.

In addition, Egypt has announced on Tuesday that the Rafah crossing would be temporarily closed for Gazans, which is specifically used for pedestrians, due to a technical malfunction.

Due to the constraints on Palestinian movement through the crossing, many Gazans are commonly barred from leaving or entering the besieged coastal enclave, some for months at a time, as the crossing is only periodically opened by the Egyptian authorities, stranding Palestinians on both sides of the crossing during closures.

To allow movement and lessen the suffering of the people of Gaza, Egypt usually opens the crossing for five days a week upon order by its President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
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