By Chase Lacy
By Chase Lacy
Rabat- Israel has begun blocking the shipment of gas and fuels to the besieged Gaza Strip in a “retaliatory” measure.
Israel’s minister of defense, Avigdor Lieberman, ordered the complete halt of fuel shipments Thursday, August 2, through the already partially-closed Karem Abu Salem border.
The move will place a further strain on the already distressed Gaza strip, which suffers from economic devastation, supply shortages, and a severe lack of electricity. The enclave frequently experiences prolonged power outages and relies on gas generators during those times.
To exasperate conditions, Gaza’s sole power company announced a reduction in service. Now Gazans will be without power for 18 hours a day, an increase from the previous 16 hours.
Lieberman asserted, “The decision has been taken in view of the continued terror of incendiary balloons and friction along the fence.” The flaming balloons have burned down swaths of forests and agricultural land in Israel, causing over a million dollars in damage.
Israel responded to Gazan protests and incendiary balloons on July 9 by banning all non-essential goods from entering Gaza and launching air strikes. In the month of July alone, Israeli airstrikes killed three Palestinians.
The only goods allowed to enter Gaza are what Israel cites to be for humanitarian purposes such cooking gas, wheat, flour, and medicine. The few Gazan exports were cut off as well. Previously 40-50 trucks were permitted to cross daily, before Lieberman’s decision last month.
Palestinians have held weekly Friday protests in the “Great March of Return” since March 30. Since then, Israeli forces have killed 155 Palestinians and injured thousands more. In the same period, only one Israeli soldier has been killed by a Gazan sniper.