Israel again blocked the supply of gasoline in the Gaza Strip on Thursday in response to the launching of incendiary kitesfrom a Palestinian enclave, a decision that may provoke new confrontations.
The Israeli Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, announced this measure that will accentuate the blockade to which the Gaza Strip has been subjected for more than ten years, which suffers from habitual power cuts, especially in hospitals which puts life at risk of the sick, according to the UN.
Lieberman justified the blockade of the fuel supply by “the persistence of terrorism through the incendiary balloons and the confrontations on the border” between Gaza and Israel.
These restrictions will remain in force as long as the Palestinian attacks “do not end completely,” the Israeli minister said.
For these same reasons, Israel had already reinforced its blockade in the Gaza Strip last month.
On July 9th, they closed the border crossing of Kerem Shalom, the only point where the movement of goods is authorized in the direction of the Palestinian people, where 80% of its two million inhabitants depend on social and humanitarian aid, according to the World Bank.
However, the supply of food, medicines and fuel remained. Although the Israeli Defense Ministry decided to block any supply of fuel on July 17th, the movement of goods in Kerem Shalom was restored a week later.
The UN was alarmed by the hardships caused by the blockage of fuel supply, necessary to operate electricity generators. These generators are also used for water distribution and purification.
“With power cuts that last almost 20 hours a day, if fuel deliveries are not restored immediately, people’s lives will be in danger,” Jamie McGoldrick, the UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs in Palestinian territory, said recently. Meanwhile, on Thursday, the captain of a Norwegian-flagged vessel accused Israel of having committed a violation by inspecting them in international waters.
The boat called “Awda” (“Return” in Arabic), which had 22 people on board, sought to denounce the Israeli blockade and the consequences on the population. The ship came from Europe and wanted to “violate the legal naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli army said.
“We were inspected in international waters and we were closer to Egypt than to Israel,” Capt. Herman Reksten said early Thursday when he arrived in Norway after being detained for three days in an Israeli jail.