Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gaza, Israel tensions rise after bombing retaliation

By The Palestine Monitor - August 24, 2020
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza]

Tension between Gaza and Israel has flared since August 6 after Gazans began to relaunch incendiary balloons and rockets into Israel. 

Israel has responded with almost daily bombing attacks on the besieged enclave in retaliation to the balloons which Gazans resumed sending after they say the Israeli occupation reneged on their commitments towards Gaza. 

Gaza security sources said Israeli tank fire targeted Hamas observation posts east of Rafah and east of Khan Younis causing no casualties, according to AFP.

A group of Palestinians calling themselves the Barq (lightning) Unit are one of several groups involved in floating "fire" balloons and kites into Israel. They state their aim is to put pressure on the Israeli government to ease the crippling blockade they have been living under since 2007.

"We came here to send a fiery message to the Israeli occupation that we in the Gaza Strip can no longer tolerate the blockade that's been taking place for 13 years," Abu Yousef, the spokesman of the Barq Unit, told Al Jazeera.

"We would like to send a message that we deserve a decent life to our families and loved ones," the 24-year-old added.

The balloons have caused large fires to agricultural land in southern Israel, however, no casualties have been reported. 

In response to the attacks, Israel has closed the Karem Abu Salem (Karem Shalom) crossing, Gaza’s main commercial point, prohibiting the shipment of fuel resulting in the only power plant in the Gaza Strip being shut down for lack of resources.

Israel has also imposed a fishing ban off the coast, further impacting the livelihood of thousands of Gazans.

The Gaza Strip has a population of two million, more than half of whom live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

According to the United Nations, Gaza's blockade was expected to render the besieged city uninhabitable by 2020. The enclave suffers from a severe scarcity of drinkable water, where water contamination has reached 97 per cent.

Nearly 80 per cent of Gaza's population receives some kind of aid, according to the World Bank, while nearly 53 per cent has fallen below the poverty line.

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