In response to incendiary kites and balloons flown from Gaza into Israel, and which have burned hundreds of acres of agricultural land, the Israeli government decided on 9 July to close the Kerem Shalom crossing point, the main entry point for cargo coming into Gaza. The new Israeli restrictions ban all imports - including of construction materials - except food, hygiene/medical supplies, fuel, animal feed and livestock. Exports from Gaza have also been frozen until further notice. In addition, the fishing zone has been reduced from 9 to 6 nautical miles.
These measures will further impact an already fragile humanitarian situation in Gaza, where the economy is close to collapse as a result of the long-lasting blockade, lack of payment of public sector salaries by the Palestinian Authority, and a reduction in international aid.
he health sector in Gaza remains particularly under strain due to continued clashes along the perimeter fence with Israel. Between 23 June and 4 July, 3 Palestinians were killed (including a 14-year old child) and 440 were injured by Israeli forces. This brings the total number of people injured since 30 March to 15 501, with 140 killed.
With limited access and medical supplies depleted, health responders are struggling to treat the vast number of wounded, many with complex injuries. Approximately 400 cases of injured people have been identified as in need of limb reconstruction, and will require up to 7 surgeries and extensive rehabilitation and treatment for up to 2 years.
As of 3 July, 136 patients injured in the demonstrations have applied to exit Gaza through Erez Crossing for health care. Only 21% of the requests have been approved, which is significantly lower than the overall rate of 59% for the first half of 2018. The denial rate has been of 49%, which is significantly higher than the overall denial rate of 9% for the first half of 2018.