Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem stated on Saturday that his group is “conducting intensive contacts with the mediators of the ceasefire agreement with the Israeli Occupation to compel it to completely end the tight siege imposed on Gaza.”
“The measures that the Occupation is talking about are insufficient. Such steps do not respond to the demands to end the humanitarian crisis in the (Gaza) Strip,” Qassem added.
Separately, the spokesman for Islamic Jihad movement, Tariq Salmi, said Israel’s terrorism and aggression represented by the siege and prevention of construction materials into the Gaza Strip are part of the regime’s attempts to cover up its security and military failures, blackmail the Palestinian nation and put pressure on advocates of the Palestinian resistance movement.
Salmi also termed the tightening of the blockade on Gaza as “terrorism.”
“We will not surrender to them at all, but would rather confront them. The resistance will not allow the Occupation to employ the siege as a means to hide its failures,” he pointed out.
The Israeli military body responsible for civil affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, COGAT, announced on Friday that officials would allow the entry of merchants and businessmen from the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing for the first time in some 18 months.
Also, “exports from the Gaza Strip into Israel will recommence through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and imports from Israel into the Gaza Strip will be expanded —- including components belonging to the transport and communications sector,” COGAT said in statement.
Entry permits will be issued “only to those vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19,” it said.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007 when Hamas took control of the coastal enclave.
The siege has inflicted severe hardship on residents. The poverty rate among Gaza’s population has reached 53 percent, while “extreme poverty” stands at 33.8 percent, according to statistics by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
About 68 percent of families do not have enough to eat, while 80 percent of Gazans are dependent on aid.
The area’s unemployment rate stands at 45.1 percent, according to PCBS.