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As Obama fiddles in Israel, Netanyahu tightens blockade of Gaza

February 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

As US President Barack Obama visited the sights of the Holy Land as a virtual tourist, his host, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tightened the blockade of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government has decided to reduce the six-mile fishing limit agreed as part of the ceasefire deal last November back to its previous 3 miles. The international limit of territorial waters is 12-miles.

The government, said a spokesman for Israel’s occupation forces, has imposed the reduced limit “in response to the missiles fired from Gaza during Obama’s visit”. The Hamas-led Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip has denied responsibility for the missiles, accusing the Israelis of fabricating the story to provide an excuse for such retaliation.

Israel has also closed the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel. Commercial imports and exports normally use this crossing, although traffic has been extremely limited in any case because of the Israeli blockade.

According to a report on Al-Jazeera by its correspondent in Gaza, Wael al-Dahdouh, there is scepticism about Israeli claims regarding the missiles. He confirmed that the government in Gaza City has carried out an investigation across the whole Strip to make sure that none of the resistance groups actually fired the rockets.