After three days: Crossing activity resumes

May 1, 2013. After three days during which Kerem Shalom Crossing was closed and travel through Erez Crossing was more restricted than usual, the crossings opened for routine operation today. During the three days of closure, all shipment of goods via Kerem Shalom Crossing was halted and travel through the Erez crossing was allowed only to Israeli citizens, medical patients, foreign nationals and individuals wishing to return to their homes in the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. Travel in humanitarian cases was considered on an individual basis. The army spokesperson’s office tweeted that the access restrictions were imposed due to “security concerns”.

Firing rockets toward civilian population centers violates international law and is a war crime. However, this is the fourth time in recent months that the Israeli security establishment has restricted movement through the crossings as a response to the firing of rockets toward its territory. The security establishment has also reduced the Gaza fishing limit following rocket fire. These steps raise suspicion that movement is being restricted not because of security, but rather as a means of applying pressure on the civilian population in an act that can be defined as collective punishment and is in contravention of international law.