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Sunday, 19 September. 2021
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy

The Israeli security cabinet voted unanimously on September 19 to declare the Gaza Strip “hostile territory” further ostracizing Hamas, which took over the Strip last June. The decision will have extremely negative ramifications on the population of the Gaza Strip at large and has been deemed by many as a doorway to more extreme collective punishment against the population.

Such a decision will naturally allow for additional economic and military sanctions against Gaza. The security cabinet announced that Israel will impose additional restrictions on the Strip following the decision, ostensibly as a means of curbing the firing of homemade Qassam rockets into Israel. These restrictions include limiting the entry of goods, fuel and the provision of electricity to the Strip. Israel will also halt family visits to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and will increase monitoring over Palestinian funds. According to Israeli sources, Israel will reduce the amount of megawatts it provides to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ruled out a massive military operation in the Strip for the time being, but did encourage continued assassinations of Palestinian activists and targeted raids.

During her visit to the region yesterday for meetings with the two sides, US Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice agreed with Israel’s cabinet decision, saying the United States also considered the Islamic movement as a terrorist organization. “Hamas is a hostile entity to us as well,” she said during a press conference with her Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his concern over the decision, calling on Israel to reconsider. In a statement on his behalf, Ki-Moon said that women, children, the sick and the elderly in the Gaza Strip should not have to pay for the actions of “armed groups,” stressing that they are already suffering from the lengthy siege imposed on them.

Hamas was more vehement in its reaction. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri called the Israeli decision a “declaration of war against the Palestinian people.”

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