Responding to Hamas Torching Israeli Area Half the Size of Manhattan,

Israel Closes a Gaza Crossing to Commercial Traffic,Keeps Open for Humanitarian Aid

by Rolene Marks, World WIZO Executive: Public Diplomacy & Hasbara - Office of the Chairperson

 

Background

 

“Fire Kites” and “Arson Balloons” launched by terror group Hamas have now burned land inside Israel equivalent to half the size of Manhattan, or more than 6,000 football fields. The flaming kites, birthday balloons and inflated latex condoms – sometimes packed with explosives – now spark daily blazes across southern Israeli farmland, parks and forests, killing wildlife in the process. "They are not toys, they are weapons that are intended to kill and inflict damage," said an IDF spokesperson.

In response, Israel has closed one of Gaza’s three crossings to commercial traffic, keeping it open for humanitarian goods, chiefly food and medicine. A second passage Israel operates will remain open for Palestinians in need of medical treatment at Israeli hospitals, businesspeople, students, and individuals praying at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Egypt, which controls a third crossing on its border with Gaza, only sporadically permits the flow of goods and construction materials.

Israel also announced a reduction in the size of the commercial fishing zone off Gaza’s coast. The measures are expected to increase economic hardship for Gaza’s businesses. Hamas accused Israel of committing a “new crime against humanity.” Israel said it was responding to the latest wave of Iranian-backed Hamas violence, including weekly riots along the Gaza border, now in its fourth month.

 

 

Talking Points:

 

  1. Israel regrets the painful economic and living conditions suffered by the people of Gaza. The Hamas practice of perpetrating violent attacks against Israel with international aid, which is intended to improve the lives of Palestinians, is shameful. Its pattern of stoking anti-Semitic hatred to deflect from Gaza’s faltering economy is the real crime against humanity.

 

  1. The same border crossing closed by Israel was forced to shut down three times in May after attacks orchestrated by Hamas. Rioters set fire to fuel lines that supply Gaza, cutting off supplies of gasoline for cars, cooking fuel and diesel for generators to supplement scant electricity. Hamas plunged its own people into darkness this year after a rocket it fired into Israel struck a power plant supplying Gaza. Power lines from Egypt have been dormant for months, and a dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority shut down Gaza’s power plant earlier this year.

 

  1. Despite four months of continuous border and "fire kite" attacks, Israel has refused to stop the flow of humanitarian goods, electricity and fuel into Gaza. Hamas, however, blocked medical supplies bound for Gaza hospitals from passing through the same crossing making headlines now when it learned the assistance came from Israel. In fact, Israel is the only country striving to keep that crossing open – despite Hamas’s own attacks on the passage.

 

For daily updates on exactly how many and which kinds of goods enter Gaza through Israel, click here.

 

A balloon loaded with incendiary material is flown towards Israel by Palestinians east of Gaza City on June 29, 2018. [source: AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS]

 

Firefighters extinguish a fire in a field caused by incendiaries attached to kites flown by Palestinians, from the Gaza Strip, June 27, 2018. [source: Flash90]

 

VIDEO LINK [source: Ynet]

 

Fire breaks out near Gaza border [source: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90]

 

Charred animal remains from Israeli nature reserve, burned by a Hamas Fire Kite. [source: Haimeh Edelstein]

 

VIDEO LINK: Massive blaze at Kerem Shalom crossing after Hamas-directed rioters lit fuel lines on fire, May 11, 2018. [source: Israel Ministry of Defense]

 

VIDEO LINK: Dozens of Palestinians breaking into the Kerem Shalom crossing facility, vandalizing property, tearing down fences and starting fires in the loading areas.

[source: Israel Defense Forces]

 

Workers load medical supplies onto a truck bound for the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom Crossing on May 13, 2018. [source: Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel]

 

Gas pipes on fire at the Kerem Shalom goods crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, May 11, 2018. [source: Israel Defense Forces]

 

Gaza rioters trash infrastructure at the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Palestinian side of the Gaza-Israel border, May 11, 2018 [source: Israel Defense Forces]

 

A conveyor belt at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which was burned by Palestinian rioters on May 11, 2018. [Source: Israel Defense Ministry]

 

Palestinian rioters set fire to the Gaza Strip’s Kerem Shalom Crossing on May 14, 2018. [source: Israel Defense Forces]

 

More photos from Fire Kite damage.

 

 

Monthly newsletter WIZO News

by Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of World WIZO

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