Erez Crossing closed other than for medical patients and entry to Gaza

Erez Crossing. Photo by Gisha

February 24, 2020. For a few hours this morning, Erez Crossing was closed completely to exits from the Gaza Strip. People with valid travel permits who arrived at Erez to exit the Strip were turned away by Israeli officials. Only movement into the Strip from Israel was allowed. No official announcement was made about the decision to close the crossing. In the afternoon, Israel began allowing patients seeking life-saving medical treatment outside the Strip, and their companions, to exit Gaza through the crossing. Kerem Shalom Crossing operated as usual.

The last time Israel closed Erez Crossing “for security reasons” was on November 12, 2019, following its assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu Al Ata.

In January 2020, Erez Crossing operated on a total of 26 days, during which a total of 25,617 exits by Palestinians were recorded, a 15 percent increase compared to December 2019. More than 21,000 of the exits recorded in January were by holders of “trader” permits, most of them exiting for day labor in Israel. About 3,000 of the exits in January were by medical patients and their companions; only about 1,500 exits were by people who meet all other criteria of Palestinians eligible for travel according to Israel’s directives.

Deliberate or indiscriminate fire towards civilian population centers contravenes international law and is a war crime. Israel has an obligation to protect Gaza residents’ ability to exercise their basic right to freedom of movement, and at the very least, enable travel for humanitarian reasons. Barring concrete security needs, there is no justification for closing the crossing.

     

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