World Bulletin / News Desk
Trucks loaded with humanitarian needs only were allowed on Tuesday into the Palestinian territory through the Kerem Shalom crossing, south of Gaza, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.
On Monday, Israel imposed fresh sanctions on the seaside enclave, including restrictions on the movement of goods and a reduction of the area off Gaza’s coast in which Palestinian fishermen are allowed to ply their trade.
According to a statement released by the Israeli army, the Kerem Shalom border crossing will be closed in response to “incendiary kite attacks” by Palestinian activists.
The military statement did not say how long the crossing -- which had served as Gaza’s only functioning commercial crossing -- would remain closed.
Local authorities on the Palestinian side of the crossing said they were told by the Israeli side that only fuel, foodstuffs, health and medical materials, livestock and feeds would be allowed through the terminal.
Palestinian economists have decried the Israeli sanctions, warning that the move would aggravate Gaza’s already dire humanitarian situation.
In recent weeks, Palestinian activists have been flying incendiary kites and balloons over Israeli territory as part of ongoing popular demonstrations near the Gaza-Israel security fence.
Since the demonstrations began on March 30, at least 137 Palestinian protesters have been martyred -- and thousands more injured -- by Israeli army gunfire.
Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of basic commodities.