Netanyahu: Israel Examining Ways to Prevent Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

PM says he spoke with Germany's Merkel about plan to improve border crossings, blames Gaza protests on economic troubles caused by Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a press conference with the German Chancellor after a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on June 4, 2018.
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP

Weekly mass protests by Palestinians at the Gaza border are the result of the dire economic situation in the Strip caused by Hamas, and Israel is examining ways to prevent a humanitarian crisis there, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday as he briefed Israeli reporters following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

“I raised the issue of Gaza and gave her a very brief description of how this crisis was created by Hamas’s investment in tunnels,” Netanyahu said. “What they built underground in Gaza is like six office towers ... a huge investment ... They’re suffocating economically, and therefore, they decided to crash into the fence.

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“Plain and simple, the outcome now is due to the economic suffocation – which Hamas caused,” he continued. “We’re examining various possibilities for preventing a humanitarian crisis there. Israel is the one doing the most, and perhaps the only one taking action on this issue. I spoke with Merkel about a plan to improve the [border] crossings.”

Israel is preparing for fresh protests Tuesday along the border with the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War. The army said it plans to continue its policy of shooting against anyone trying to reach the fence itself.