Israel says closing Gaza’s main trade terminal in anti-Hamas crackdown

A program on al Quds TV

"There will be additional steps".

Hundreds of women arrived at the Israeli-Gaza border on Tuesday to join the female version of the Great March of Return, denouncing Israeli occupation of the enclave.

The crossing, known as Kerem Shalom, is to remain closed until further notice. They claim that the news agency has an affiliation with the Hamas party, which is also a spurious claim, according to the owners of the agency.

"Should this situation continue, the measures will stay in place and intensify", it said.

"Haniya informed the Russian side in detail about the situation in the Gaza Strip with a focus on the hard socio-economic situation stemming from the ongoing blockade by Israel", the ministry said.

Hamas, a Palestinian political movement, slammed Netanyahu's decision by describing it as a crime against humanity.

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch's Israel-Palestine director, said the economic measure by Israel was an act of "collective punishment".

The group, which governs the enclave, described Monday's measure as a "crime against the people of Gaza", blaming the global community's prolonged silence that encourages Israel's blockade on the Strip.

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People taking part in more than three months of protests at the Gaza border have started scores of fires by sending the balloons and kites into Israel, vexing its advanced military which is used to dealing with more conventional weapons.

The flaming kites have set fires to forest and farmland, and have done some damage, though inflicted few casualties.

Israel deems the protests a bid by Hamas to deflect scrutiny from Gaza's governance problems and provide cover for armed border attacks.

There have been no serious Israeli casualties in the Gaza border confrontations.

Hamas won 2006 legislative elections and effectively booted the Palestinian Authority (PA) from power in Gaza in the wake of an armed conflict with Fatah, the leading party of the PA, after the latter rejected the election results.

Egypt closely cooperates with Israel in maintaining the siege by keeping Rafah, Gaza's only land terminal that bypasses Israel, closed most of the time. In his statement, Netanyahu pointed out that Gaza's fishing zone would revert to 16 nautical miles after it was temporarily expanded to 9 nautical miles in April.

The blockade, coupled with three devastating wars since 2009, has impacted Palestinians' livelihoods in Gaza - as high unemployment, barely existent power and water-treatment infrastructure, loss of agricultural lands and war-related trauma led the United Nations to warn in 2015 that Gaza would become "unliveable" by 2020.

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