The United Nations on Tuesday criticized Israel’s closure of its only cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip, warning that the measure could have negative consequences.

In a statement, UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov urged Israel to reverse its decision. Israel said it was closing the Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday to everything except essential humanitarian supplies. Israel has maintained a blockade on Gaza for over a decade in an attempt to weaken Hamas.

The blockade has caused widespread economic hardship. Mladenov said he was concerned about the consequences of Israel’s latest closure.

Humanitarian assistance is not a substitute for commerce and trade, he said.

On 30 March 2018, protests dubbed ‘The Great March of Return erupted in Gaza, with protestors demanding their right to return home, and protesting the blockade on Gaza. More than 136 Palestinian died by Israeli fire during the protests.

Source: International Islamic News Agency