Is­rael halts Gaza fuel de­liv­er­ies

Kuwait Times - - International -

JERUSALEM: Is­rael sus­pended fuel de­liv­er­ies to Gaza on Fri­day in re­sponse to bor­der vi­o­lence which the Ha­mas­run health min­istry said left seven Pales­tini­ans dead in the coastal en­clave. The Is­raeli army said five were shot dead af­ter break­ing through the bor­der fence and at­tack­ing an army post. But the Gaza health min­istry said seven Pales­tini­ans were killed as thou­sands of pro­test­ers ap­proached the heav­ily-guarded Is­raeli bor­der.

It said four died along the fron­tier east of Al-Bureij in cen­tral Gaza, two east of Gaza City and one near Rafah in south­ern Gaza. It named one of those killed as Mo­hammed Ab­bas, who was shot in the head. It said all the vic­tims were males aged be­tween 17 and 29. Is­raeli army spokesman Jonathan Con­ri­cus said around 20 Pales­tini­ans had crossed the bor­der in an “or­ga­nized at­tack” af­ter an ex­plo­sive de­vice de­stroyed a por­tion of the fence. About five of those who got through the fence as­saulted an Is­raeli army po­si­tion and were “re­pelled”, he wrote on Twit­ter.

‘Im­me­di­ate’ halt

In re­sponse to the vi­o­lence, Is­raeli De­fense Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man or­dered de­liv­er­ies of fuel to the Pales­tinian en­clave be sus­pended. “Fol­low­ing the se­ri­ous in­ci­dents in the Gaza Strip, the de­fense min­istry or­ders the im­me­di­ate halt to the de­liv­ery of fuel” to the area, he said in a state­ment. Four Is­raeli tanker trucks had de­liv­ered fuel to Gaza on Fri­day morn­ing be­fore “ri­ots” broke out, Lieber­man said. The sus­pen­sion comes just days af­ter a United Na­tions-bro­kered deal to sup­ply the ter­ri­tory with Qatari-bought fuel came into ef­fect.

The terms of the deal saw Doha, a long­time Ha­mas backer, pledge to pay $60 mil­lion (52 mil­lion eu­ros) for fuel to be brought into Gaza over six months to sup­ply the strip’s sole power plant. In a rare in­ter­view re­cently, Ha­mas’s Gaza head Yahya Sin­war en­cour­aged world pow­ers to work with it to ease suf­fer­ing in the strip. Ja­son Green­blatt, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s peace en­voy, had hailed the fuel agree­ment. At least 205 Pales­tini­ans have been killed by Is­raeli fire in Gaza since protests be­gan on March 30.

The ma­jor­ity were killed dur­ing bor­der demon­stra­tions, though oth­ers have died in airstrikes and tank shelling. One Is­raeli sol­dier has been killed over the same pe­riod. Pro­test­ers have sent in­cen­di­ary de­vices at­tached to bal­loons into Is­raeli ter­ri­tory dur­ing demon­stra­tions, which Is­rael says has caused hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lar­sworth of dam­age to farm­land. The pro­test­ers are de­mand­ing to be al­lowed to re­turn to lands now in­side Is­rael, from which their fam­i­lies fled or were dis­placed dur­ing the 1948 war sur­round­ing the cre­ation of the Jewish state.

They are also call­ing for Is­rael to end its crip­pling block­ade of the strip. Is­rael ac­cuses the en­clave’s Is­lamist rulers Ha­mas of lead­ing the protests and us­ing them as a cover for at­tacks. There had been hopes the protests would ease af­ter the UN-bro­kered agree­ment to ease the strip’s en­ergy cri­sis took ef­fect this week. But thou­sands of pro­tes­tors again gath­ered Fri­day in sites along the bor­der, AFP cor­re­spon­dents said. They added that Ha­mas leader Is­mail Haniya also at­tended the protests east of Gaza City and hailed the on­go­ing demon­stra­tions. Is­rael’s army said ap­prox­i­mately 14,000 “ri­ot­ers and demon­stra­tors” took part in Fri­day’s protests. — AFP


GAZA: Pales­tini­ans carry the bod­ies of Ah­mad Al-Tawil (right) and Ahmed Abu Naim (left), who were killed the day be­fore dur­ing a protest along the Is­rael-Gaza bor­der fence, dur­ing their fu­neral in Nu­seirat camp yes­ter­day.

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