March 19, 2014. Eight days after the recent escalation in Gaza, the crossings between Israel and the Strip have returned to standard operations. The crossings operated according to a “restricted format” since Thursday, following rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
With the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing, four trucks exited the Strip carrying fresh produce destined for Europe – tomatoes, herbs and flowers. Since Thursday, Israel prevented the transfer of goods to and from Gaza through Kerem Shalom, other than fuel and cooking gas, which it allowed in starting Sunday. Erez Crossing had also been operating according to a “restricted format”. Israel only allowed exit for critical medical patients and foreign citizens with prior coordination. Individuals were also not permitted to enter the Strip via Israel.
This is the seventh time since Operation Pillar of Defense (November 2012) in which the minister of defense ordered the closure of crossings in response to rocket fire. No explanation has been given for how denying the civilian population essential supplies serves Israel’s security needs – including in past instances when the crossings were closed for prolonged periods in response to rocket fire.
Gisha reiterates that limiting the movement of civilians and civilian goods is beyond the scope of actions that may be considered legitimate by decision-makers in response to rocket fire.