Kerem Shalom is the only active commercial crossing connecting Gaza and the rest of the world. Currently, Israel allows the entrance of all civilian goods into the Gaza Strip, with the exception of a list of materials defined as “dual-use”, which, according to Israel, can be used for military purposes. Since June 2007, Israel has restricted the operation of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip. In June 2007, the Karni Crossing, which served as the main crossing for goods, was almost fully closed, leaving only a single conveyor belt in partial service for grain, animal feed and, starting in the summer of 2010, gravel. It was fully closed in March 2011. The Sufa Crossing, which served mainly for the transfer of construction materials, closed in 2008, and the Nahal Oz Crossing, through which fuel was transferred into the Gaza Strip, closed in 2010.

In June 2007, Israel began to impose restrictions on the transfer of goods into the Gaza Strip, allowing only the transfer of goods it defined as “vital for the survival of the civilian population”. From June 2007 until June 2010, an average of 2,400 trucks per month entered Gaza from Israel, compared to 10,400 trucks per month that entered Gaza in 2005 – a year in which Israel did not significantly restrict the transfer of goods into the Gaza Strip. After a prolonged legal struggle, at the end of 2010, Gisha received official Israeli Defense Ministry documents containing the criteria according to which the Gaza closure was implemented until mid-2010. Among other things, the documents show that Israel employed mathematical formulas to calculate the basic consumption needs of residents in Gaza and approved “a policy of deliberate reduction” for basic goods in the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of 2010, the variety of goods that Israel has allowed into the Gaza Strip has gradually expanded, especially after the events surrounding the flotilla and the Israeli government’s declaration that it would “ease” the closure in June 2010. At that time, Israel published a list of goods prohibited from entering the Gaza Strip, which it defined as “dual use” and promised to allow the entrance of all goods that are not prohibited. Basic construction materials such as cement and steel are considered dual-use, and their entrance into Gaza is restricted and monitored. In March 2015, Israel began restricting the entrance of wood planks into Gaza as well.

Since the Israeli government’s June 2010 declaration that it would ease the closure, Kerem Shalom Crossing was expanded and developed, so that its capacity now allows for the movement of about 1,000 trucks per day (not including trucks carrying fuel), compared to 150 before the June declaration.

Text was last updated in June 2021.