Five human rights groups have called on the Israeli government to reverse a ban on fuel imports to the blockaded Gaza Strip.0

The rights groups submitted a petition to Israel’s Supreme Court to end the ban and asked the government to give an answer by Tuesday.

“Over the last weeks, against the backdrop of an outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic among the general population in the Gaza Strip, Israel has imposed a series of measures that deliberately harm Gaza residents and stand in violation of Israel’s obligations under both Israeli and international law,” the groups said in a statement.

They demanded the government immediately reverse the ban on fuel imports and other goods to the Palestinian territory.

The petition was submitted by Gisha, Adalah, HaMoked, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Physicians for Human Rights Israel.

The Israeli government argues that it has imposed the restrictions on fuel imports in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza, which caused fires in southern Israel.

Palestinian activists say they fire the incendiary balloons to pressure Israel to end its 14-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, which badly affected livelihood in the seaside territory.

The calls came hours before a Qatar-brokered understanding was reached between Israel and Hamas to reduce the escalation of conflict in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Palestinian group Hamas late on Monday said it had reached an understanding to “contain escalation and stop the Zionist aggression” against the Gaza Strip.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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