Hamas-controlled side of Erez closed
March 26, 2017. The Gaza Ministry of Interior announced this morning that the Hamas-controlled passage leading to Erez Crossing would remain closed, preventing travel in both directions until further notice, for “security reasons.” The announcement was made following the killing of Mazen Fuqaha in Gaza on Friday. The Hamas interior ministry spokesperson stated that “humanitarian cases” would be allowed to return to Gaza, probably referring to medical patients who had received treatment outside but reside in Gaza. Later in the day Gisha learned that sixty patients were allowed into the Strip.
Movement of people into and out of Gaza is severely restricted as it is. Further denying access infringes on fundamental rights, such as access to medical treatment, family, and livelihood. Access cannot be restricted on the pretense of vague security justifications and as Gisha has stated in the past, the lives of the residents of Gaza cannot be used as bargaining chips by any side.
Update, March 27, 2017. This morning the interior ministry in Gaza updated that it would allow passage to the Israeli side of Erez Crossing of medical patients and families of prisoners, limited to children under the age of 15 and individuals over the age of 45, as well as three ministers of the Palestinian unity government. In addition, individuals returning home to Gaza from Israel would be permitted to cross freely.