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Israel Responds to Months of Hamas Terror with Economic Sanctions

July 9, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative example of goods shipped to Gaza. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

When the United States, Europe, or the United Nations are troubled by a malicious nation’s actions, they often resort to economic sanctions. After months of Gaza fire kites, balloon bombs, infiltration attempts, border riots and attacks on the border crossing, Israel responded with sanctions of their own. On Monday, the IDF announced on their website that the Kerem Shalom border crossing—itself a target of Gaza attacks—would only allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear the border restriction was a response to Hamas’ nefarious ways. “We will be heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip—immediately. In a significant step, today we are closing the Kerem Shalom crossing,” said Netanyahu to the Israeli parliament (Knesset) in comments released by his office. He further noted that “there will be additional steps” in response to Hamas, but did not provide details.

It was unclear on Monday if those further measures included the IDF announcement that the expanded fishing zone would be curbed back from nine to six nautical miles in another sanction. The IDF noted that a terror tunnel leading from a Hamas post to the sea—setting the stage for naval terrorism—had been found last month.

The IDF statement made it clear the Israelis have nothing against Gazan civilians, but were enacting these measures in response to Hamas terrorism.

“The State of Israel aspires and acts to improve the living conditions of civilians in the Gaza Strip. However, the IDF has decided to take these measures due to the recent situation in which the Hamas terror organization is exploiting Gazan residents and launching arson and explosive balloons and kites towards the Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip,” said the IDF website.

“…The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all activities occurring within the Gaza Strip and the consequences that follow, including the suffering Gazans experience. The IDF will continue to operate as necessary to defend the State of Israel.”

The Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) agency that handles the import of materials into Gaza also announced the sanctions on their Facebook page. COGAT highlighted the severe situation faced by Israeli civilians due to Hamas attacks.

“Over the past few months, Hamas has sent hundreds of incendiary terror kites and balloons sparking fires which have burned hundreds of acres of agricultural land.

In addition to harming Israeli citizens, Hamas continues to exploit and endanger its own people in the name of terror,” said the COGAT statement. “…Israel will no longer permit Hamas to terrorize Israeli citizens by damaging their livelihood and endangering their lives.”

The reduction in border crossing goods contrasts with the volume of goods allowed into Gaza by COGAT on Sunday. In a Twitter post from the agency, COGAT said they more than 18,000 tons of goods entered Gaza from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Now, thanks to Hamas’ ongoing terrorism against Israel, that border entry point will be limited to humanitarian goods only.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 9, 2018)

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