Israel’s Defense Minister: No peace in southern Israel, no peace in Gaza

“For every balloon or rocket that lands in Israel and violates our sovereignty, one signature is written – Hamas,” said Gantz.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced Sunday that “Israel has completely closed the fishing zone in Gaza.”

“The decision was made following the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing, with the exception of the entry of essential humanitarian equipment into the Gaza Strip,” said COGAT in a statement.

“[The closure comes] in light of repeated terrorist acts by terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip against Israeli citizens, which violate Israeli sovereignty.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a security assessment meeting with IDF Chief of Staff General Aviv Kochavi on Sunday morning, after a rocket launched from Gaza overnight Saturday landed in the Israeli town of Sderot.

The meeting comes after weeks of escalation with Gaza, including incendiary balloons that have caused hundreds of brush fires in southern Israeli communities. Israel has responded with air strikes on Hamas targets.

“For every balloon or rocket that lands in Israel and violates our sovereignty, one signature is written – Hamas,” said Gantz to Channel 20 News.

“By launching the rockets and balloons, Hamas leaders…are undermining Gaza residents’ ability to live in dignity and security.”

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“The IDF will respond strongly to any violation of sovereignty. Complete calm must be restored in the south. If there is no peace in Sderot, there will be no peace in Gaza either.”

Overnight Saturday, a red alert sounded in the southern communities of Sderot and Ivim after a rocket was launched from Gaza. The rocket landed in the yard of a house in Sderot.

A 58-year-old man was injured by shrapnel and treated at the scene by MDA paramedics. Two others were treated for shock. Security forces arrived at the home and destroyed the remainder of the rocket. The house was significantly damaged.

In response to the attack, the IAF carried out airstrikes on a Hamas rocket storage facility.

On Saturday night, clashes broke out along the Gaza-Israel border fence as 200 Palestinians hurled explosives, grenades and flaming tires at IDF troops.

The IDF opened fire and the crowd dispersed.