Israel closes Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing with Gaza over Hamas arson terrorism
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel will close the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza over the continued arson attacks via incendiary kites and balloons launched by Muslim terrorists from Gaza into Israel in recent months.
“In agreement with the defense minister, we will act with a heavy hand against the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said.
“We will crack down immediately on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. In a significant move, we will today shut down the Kerem Shalom (border) crossing. There will be additional steps. I am not detailing them,” he told his parliamentary faction in broadcast remarks.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened Hamas on Monday, warning of repercussions to the incendiary kites and balloons.
“The way Hamas is conducting itself, it could pay a heavier price than it did in Protective Edge,” Lieberman said at a meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu faction in the Knesset.
“This situation, in which every day our woodlands are being burned every day cannot continue,” he said.
“I suggest they (Hamas) get it together and stop with the fires. In the coming days, we’ll continue putting restrictions on the crossings. I’ve instructed the IDF to take several measures,” the defense minister warned.
Kerem Shalom is the only crossing for goods into the Gaza Strip. There are two other crossings whose use is limited. The Erez crossing is used for people only. The Rafah crossing, on the border with Egypt, opens from time to time to allow the passage of goods and construction materials.
The IDF spokesperson’s office said in a statement that the crossing was being shut in light of the continuation of arson terrorism and other terror attempts lead by Hamas.
“The State of Israel aspires and acts to improve the humanitarian reality in the Gaza Strip in many ways. However, in light of the situation in which the Hamas terror organization exploits the Gazan residents and launches arson and explosive balloons and kites towards the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Israel decided to take these measures. The current situation does not allow the residents of southern Israel to maintain their daily routine,” the IDF said.
“If these attacks continue, the measures will be stepped up,” says Col. Eyad Sirhan, Commander of the Gaza CLA. “The Hamas terrorist organization prefers terrorism to the welfare of the people of Gaza.”
Last Saturday marked 100 days since the beginning of the phenomenon of incendiary kites and balloons being launched into Israeli communities bordering Gaza.