March 25, 2019. This morning the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories closed the crossings between Israel and Gaza to movement of people and goods and imposed a sweeping prohibition on access to the “fishing zone” off Gaza’s coast. Trucks arriving at Kerem Shalom Crossing are being turned away, and exit of people from the Strip via Erez Crossing is limited to humanitarian exceptions. These measures are extremely damaging to residents of Gaza.
While the indiscriminate firing of rockets on civilian population centers is a breach of international law, it cannot serve as justification for the imposition of punitive measures against the Strip’s civilian population. Residents of Gaza are routinely subjected to severe restrictions on movement of people and goods enforced by Israel. They rely on the crossings controlled by Israel, Erez and Kerem Shalom, for access to basic and humanitarian supplies and to medical treatment, education, livelihoods, and family. Closing the crossings “until further notice” and restricting access to Gaza’s territorial waters constitute collective punishment and are in violation of international law.