Regular passage of goods into and out of the Gaza Strip is a critical lifeline for its two million residents, half of whom are children. Every single product, item, and substance entering or exiting Gaza through Kerem Shalom Crossing requires clearance from Israel.

Over the years, Gisha has worked to expose Israel’s directives and procedures, to have them made available to the public in relevant languages and accessible to those most impacted by them – Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank – as well as to the public at large.

A new tool-kit released today by Gisha elucidates what little information is available about Israel’s procedures on commercial access to and from the Gaza Strip, revealing the inconsistency, ambiguity and lack of transparency surrounding Israeli policy. Even where there are procedures in place, they are not translated to Arabic, nor do they reflect practice on the ground. The vagueness of Israel’s policy is a source of confusion not just for Gaza’s residents, but also for the Israeli authorities implementing them.

Israel also uses its control over movement of goods as a punitive measure and as a means of advancing its political goals, frequently denying access to essential goods, including for example fuel for Gaza’s power plant necessary for electricity production. This unlawful practice has been by Israel unilaterally and without warning, including during the coronavirus pandemic and throughout the May 2021 military operation.

Israel has a legal and moral obligation to allow movement of goods to and from Gaza and enable access to all that is required to facilitate normal life in the Strip. Its narrow and ambiguous policies, however, block economic development and harm Gaza residents.

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