Israeli sanctions on Gaza go into force

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the immediate closure of the main cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday in response to Palestinians launching incendiary kites and balloons into Israel.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has been watching Gaza closely as it seeks to improve humanitarian conditions while sidelining Hamas, which is blacklisted as a terrorist group in the West.

"The latest retaliatory measure by Israel made no mention to the fishing limit in Gaza, but we expect to hear from them on Tuesday", he said. Israel says it has lost 7,000 acres of forests and farmland to the kite- or balloon-set fires.

In recent weeks, Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting against the naval, aerial and land blockade imposed by Israel and neighboring Egypt since 2006.

"This situation, in which every day our woodlands are being burned every day, can not continue", Lieberman said on Monday, adding that "I've instructed the IDF to take several measures". They said the new "sanctions" against the strip are aimed at punishing Hamas for the use of flaming kites in cross-border attacks.

The shuttered Kerem Shalom crossing is Gaza's main conduit for trade - albeit under years of Israeli restrictions.

The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible for what is happening inside the Gaza Strip and coming out of it. Hamas is dragging the population of Gaza into the abyss, and the Israeli Defense Forces will continue to work to preserve Israel's security interests.

Netanyahu also warned in a series of posts on Twitter that "additional steps" will be taken to address the "Hamas regime ... immediately". "I will not go into details", he added.

"Hamas calls on the worldwide community to intervene immediately to prevent this crime", Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum said in a statement.

The Israeli non-governmental organisation Gisha, which promotes freedom of movement for Palestinians, also condemned the Israeli decision.

The crackdown includes the closing of Gaza's lone commercial crossing, at Kerem Shalom, for an indefinite period of time.

"No exports or marketing of goods will be carried out from the Gaza Strip".

The United Nations says 43,087 lorryloads of goods arrived through the crossing in the first five months of 2018.

At least 135 people have been killed by Israeli gunfire during the popular demonstrations - dubbed the Great March of Return - that have been taking place along the fence with Israel.

Vanessa Coleman

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