Israel further tightens Gaza blockade on Palestinians over arson kites

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Israel on Tuesday shut down the Gaza Strip's only functioning commercial crossing, allowing only medicines and foodstuffs into the blockaded Palestinian territory, according to a Palestinian official. "But we need and I hope we will have the full cooperation of all Palestinians and all Israelis who are sick and exhausted of war and conflict, who want to live in peace, and who want to see their lives not constantly threatened by rockets or air strikes", Mr. Mladenov underscored.

Fuel deliveries will be suspended until Sunday, the ministry said in a statement.

Israel also chose to reduce the Gaza fishing zone from six to just three nautical miles.

"Nothing happens in Gaza without the consent of Hamas", said Gabi Siboni of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies think tank.

Netanyahu's visit to Sderot comes a day after an informal cease-fire took hold to end 24 hours of intense fighting between Israel and Gaza's Hamas militants that had threatened to devolve into all-out war.


Egypt succeeded in brokering yet another truce between the Palestinian factions and Israel in the Gaza Strip, however, it seemed fragile with the controversy over whether it should include the issue of flaming kites and balloons.

On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Turkish and Algerian-sponsored resolution, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

Israel says it has no interest is engaging in another war with Hamas, but says it will no longer tolerate the Gaza militant campaign of flying incendiary kites and balloons across the border that have ignited fires damaging Israeli farms and nature reserves.

Between Friday night and Sunday morning Israel said that of some 200 rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza, 30 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome while the rest fell in open areas.

At least eight large fires burned in southern Israel near the border with Gaza on Monday. "The activity we are engaged in now sends a message that Israel will not tolerate rockets, explosive devices, mortar bombs or (incendiary) kites", Katz said on Israel's Channel 12 TV.


On Saturday, Israel launched a series of attacks against Gaza, targeting Palestinian military positions, killing two and injuring 18 people.

Palestinians protesting along the Gaza border have begun attaching Molotov cocktails to kites to fly over the fence into Israel in a new tactic as demonstrations enter their sixth week.

Israel denies using excessive force against protesters and accuses Hamas, the group that runs Gaza, of orchestrating the protests.

Mladenov also assured Palestinians that the UN will not leave Gaza, despite the "significant financial problems" faced by the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides humanitarian aid, education, social services and medical care to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.


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