Israel closes all crossings: The blockade of Gaza causes violence, does not stop it

Peace Now activist speaks about the situation. For days, Palestinians have been flying fire kites into Israel. For UNRWA spokesperson, collective punishments will negatively affect an already desperate population.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Collective punishment against the people of Gaza "will worsen the violence, not stop it,” said Hagit Ofran, an Israeli activist with Peace Now, who spoke with AsiaNews about the closure of Kerem Shalom crossing on Tuesday.

Early this week, Palestinians began sending fire-carrying kites and balloons across the Israeli border, causing, so far, 33 fires in Israeli forests and farmland. Yesterday, Israel responded with a drone-launched rocket.

The use of kites and balloons, which began during the Return Marches, was the motive for shutting down the Kerem Shalom crossing and the imposition of new restrictions on Palestinian fishing.

The only goods allowed are food and medicine brought by humanitarian organisations on a case by case basis.

Restrictions have also been imposed Gaza fishermen who will only be allowed to fish within six nautical miles rather than nine, as before.

"Yesterday was one of the days with the most fire kites, more than the average,” Ofran said. “This proves that collective punishment by closing the crossings will not provide security to Israel but will instead increase attacks and instability.”

"Ending the blockade of Gaza is not only the moral thing to do, but also the smart one, a first step to rehabilitate Gaza and find a political accord,” she added. 

"The only way to resolve the conflict is an agreement for two states, with Gaza as part of a Palestinian state, alongside Israel".

Christopher Gunnes, spokesperson for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), is concerned about the effects the border closure will have on Gaza’s economy and on its population, 80 per cent of whom depend on humanitarian aid.

The Strip’s unemployment rate stands at 49.1 per cent. "These additional restrictions further penalize the entire population in Gaza without regard to individual responsibility," he explained.