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Hamas: Closure of Gaza crossings 'collective punishment'

Nov. 2, 2014 11:02 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 3, 2014 2:35 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq early Sunday condemned an Israeli decision to close crossings into Gaza, calling it "collective punishment."

"The justifications given by the (Israeli) occupation to shut down crossings are unacceptable," Abu Marzouq said in a statement.

He also criticized the Palestinian Authority for what he called a failure to arrange the entry of goods into Gaza.

"Where does the PA come in regarding this Israeli closure? And where does it come in regarding its responsibilities, especially after PA employees have resumed work at Gaza crossings?"

He said Israel's decision to close the crossings violated international laws and conventions.

Instead of closing the crossings, he said Israel should establish more crossings in order to allow for greater freedom of movement for people and goods in and out of Gaza.

Israeli authorities on Saturday announced that the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings would be closed until further notice, following reports that a projectile fired from Gaza landed in Israel overnight Friday without causing damage or injuries.

They said exceptions would be made for humanitarian emergencies.

Israel and Palestinian factions signed a ceasefire agreement on Aug. 26 after a deadly 50-day war in Gaza. Over 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in Israeli attacks.

The ceasefire deal stipulated an end to hostilities, and Israel agreed to ease its devastating blockade on the Strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza's coast.

However, Palestinians accuse Israeli forces of regular ceasefire violations, with near-daily reports that navy soldiers have fired at fishermen off the coast of the enclave, and occasional reports of Israeli troops shooting and injuring Palestinians near the border.

Continued Cairo ceasefire talks to iron out further details of the truce were postponed to November following a deadly attack on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula.

Gaza has been under a severe economic blockade since 2007, set into place by Israel after Hamas won democratic elections and later took power in the Strip.

Lifting the blockade has been the main grievance of Gaza militant groups in the bloody conflicts with Israel in 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014.
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