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‘Death penalty’: Gaza merchants suffer as trade crossing shuts

After Israel's measure, 55 percent of goods can no longer enter the Gaza Strip, exacerbating already dire conditions.

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Israel suspended imports and exports at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, leaving products unsold and leading to a stoppage at some factories [Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency]

Beleaguered business owners and merchants in the Gaza Strip have voiced shock and anger at an Israeli decision to seal off the besieged territory’s sole commercial crossing.

The move by the Israeli government on Monday to close Kerem Shalom Crossing puts thousands of jobs at risk, company owners said, warning that it raised the spectre of financial ruin for those who have made major investments or deals for goods scheduled to enter or leave Gaza.

Israel said its measure was in response to incendiary kites and balloons that have been sent over the fence by demonstrators in Gaza and scorched Israeli agricultural lands.

The Palestinian Crossings Authority was instructed that only items deemed “humanitarian” by Israeli authorities will be allowed to enter Gaza including food, hygiene and medical supplies, fuel, animal feed and livestock.

The entry of all other items, such as construction materials, furniture, wood, electronics, fabric, clothing, blankets and generators have been banned.

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