Israel to sever Gaza ties if rocket strikes continue


Tel Aviv : Israel threatened Monday to sever its economic and infrastructure ties with the Gaza Strip if rocket attacks from the area at its southern towns and villages continued.

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Further tightening its closure of the Strip, it sealed one of two Israel-Gaza border crossings that had remained open during the past months for the passage of humanitarian aid, Sufa in the south east of Khan Younis.

The only outlet now remaining open to humanitarian aid is the southern-most Kerem Shalom crossing, a military spokeswoman said.

Implementing a new sanction against the almost daily rocket fire, Israel this week began reducing its weekly supply of petrol by 15 per cent and diesel by 13 per cent.

It also wants to cut electricity by one per cent – or 15 minutes each day – to those areas in the Strip from where the rockets are fired, but this move is pending a review by Israel’s attorney-general Monday, a defence ministry spokesman said.

The electricity cut would have little impact and was meant mainly as a “signal” to the radical Islamic Hamas movement ruling the Strip, said Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for the defence ministry body charged with coordinating government policy with the military.

“We are sending a signal to the Palestinians. We tell them that the tendency is to go to a disengagement,” he told DPA.

“Israel won’t keep supplying all that they want, when they fire Qassams at us. So Israel is saying, this equation mustn’t exist.

If Hamas in Gaza chose to continue supporting the rocket attacks, rather than to stop them, “it will have to begin thinking how to bring in fuel, maybe through Egypt, and how to establish its own powerplant,” he warned.