Israel announced Saturday (May 12th) the closure until further notice of the Kerem Shalom crossing. It is the only way for the circulation of goods to the Gaza Strip, which is subject to a blockade by the Jewish state.
The decision, which comes into force on Sunday was taken in response to extensive damage caused yesterday by Palestinian protesters, made to know the Israeli army in a statement. The latter denounced "destruction and fires provoked on the Palestinian side of this crossing by dozens of rioters under the auspices of Hamas," the Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, a territory wedged between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean, have been gathering since March 30 by the thousands near the border, especially on Friday, as part of the "Great March of Return" movement. which demands the right of return of Palestinian refugees and which will lead on Tuesday to the commemoration of the "Nakba" (the catastrophe, in Arabic) which marks for the Palestinians the creation of the State of Israel and the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. This protest movement has already killed 53 Palestinians for a month and a half.
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A decision that will aggravate the blockade of Gaza
The closure of the crossing point will aggravate the already very precarious situation of the Gaza Strip, which has been severely blockaded by Israel for more than a decade, and where more than two thirds of the population depend on humanitarian aid.
"The crossing will remain closed until the damage is repaired," said the army, assuring that the terminal to supply the Gaza Strip with fuel is now unusable due to destruction.
Egypt, whose border with Gaza is closed most of the time, opened Saturday its crossing point for four days.