Gaza has run out of cooking gas following the Israeli closure of the Karam Abu Salem crossing, the only commercial crossing allowing goods into the besieged Strip.
The announcement came from cooking gas distribution companies in the besieged Gaza Strip yesterday, with owners telling Wafa that “the companies have run out of backup cooking gas” less than two weeks after Israel’s closure of the crossing.
The Israeli occupation authorities block the entry of fuel and cooking gas into the Gaza Strip through Kerem Shalom crossing amid discussions in the Israeli government about a new military operation against the besieged Strip. pic.twitter.com/wPyOxTE3cI
— Palestinians abroad (@PalesAbroadE) July 17, 2018
On July 9, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would close the Karam Abu Salem crossing, situated on the southern tip of the Gaza Strip.
The move blocked commercial supplies that normally pass through the crossing into the enclave, although some humanitarian aid was set to be allowed through.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) July 19, 2018
However, on July 17, Israel announced the full closure of the crossing. Whereas Israel had previously allowed the entry of some 300 to 400 truckloads of supplies into Gaza, Israeli authorities reduced the number of truckloads entering Gaza to less than 150.
Under the new rules, fishermen in Gaza were also limited to fishing just nine kilometers out to sea, rather than the 14 kilometers previously permitted.
"Closing the Kerem Shalom crossing and depriving the Palestinian people in Gaza from the basic amenities of life by the Israeli Occupation is a crime against humanity…"https://t.co/Q0tUlrrjqQ
— Ben White (@benabyad) July 17, 2018
International observers condemned Israel’s closure of the Karam Abu Salem crossing. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nicolay Mladenov, expressed concern about the new restrictions, saying that
“humanitarian assistance is no substitute for commerce and trade. I urge the [Israeli] authorities to reverse this decision.”
UN urges Israel to reverse decision on partial closure of commercial crossing with Gaza
United Nations Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov, Tuesday called on Israel to reverse a decision imposing economic sanction on the Gaza
— ISM Palestine (@ISMPalestine) July 10, 2018
Israeli human rights NGO Gisha also urged Netanyahu and his Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, to “rescind the severe restrictions on the entrance of goods and the sweeping prohibition on the exit of goods via the Kerem Shalom (Karam Abu Salem) Crossing to the Gaza Strip.”
The NGO had previously slammed the decision as “immoral and illegal”, calling the move “a sweeping measure of collective punishment that calls to mind past days of outright economic warfare on Gaza’s civilian population.”
Twelve human rights and civil society organizations call on the Israeli government to open Kerem Shalom Crossing and immediately rescind sanctions against residents of the Gaza Strip. Read the full statement here>> https://t.co/fDadMSAPsi pic.twitter.com/tWi3qpK7XA
— Gisha גישה مسلك (@Gisha_Access) July 18, 2018
Palestine’s Islamic Jihad movement called the move to close the crossing a “declaration of war”, but added that “this will not push the Palestinians to stop their support for their resistance.”
The cooking gas shortage caused by the closure of the crossing will further compound the already dire economic and social situation in Gaza, a result of the Israeli siege of the Strip which has been ongoing since 2007.
Up to 80% of Gaza factories shut down https://t.co/NdK9MnLpzu
— Najah J. Aboud (@NajahJA) July 19, 2018
On Wednesday, the Popular Committee for Ending Gaza Siege said that 80 percent of factories in the Strip have shut down either partially or completely, with 300,000 unemployed workers and thousands of jobless graduates.
Head of the committee, Jamal Al-Khodari, said that Israel aims to “completely destroy the Gazan economy” by squeezing imports and exports to and from the enclave.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) July 18, 2018
On Tuesday, Palestinian patients at Gaza City’s hospital staged a sit-in to raised awareness of the shortages facing medical facilities in the Strip.
Speakers at the sit-in said that Gaza’s hospitals suffer from shortages in medicines, lab equipment, and testing materials as a result of the Israeli siege and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to lift sanctions on the territory.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)