More collective punishment – Israel partially closes Erez Crossing

Erez crossing. Photo by Gisha

Erez crossing. Photo by Gisha

August 20, 2018. Erez Crossing was closed yesterday, with the exception of cases defined by Israel as “humanitarian.” Those immediately affected were businesspeople and traders, as well as 200 residents who were due to travel to the Allenby Bridge border crossing and into Jordan to visit families for Eid al-Adha, which begins this evening.

Patients in need of medical treatment and people visiting sick relatives or attending immediate relatives’ weddings were permitted to travel, as well as staff members of international organizations and foreign nationals. Israel’s minister of defense said the decision was a response to last Friday’s protest, the latest in a series of demonstrations held along the perimeter fence since March 30.

The punitive decision echoes the long closure of the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing which reopened just last Wednesday after remaining closed for more than a month. Kerem Shalom operated normally yesterday and is expected to operate today, and then be closed Tuesday and Wednesday for the holiday. Yesterday, approximately 1,000 trucks carrying goods including food, clothing and fuel were expected to enter Gaza, while trucks carrying vegetables, clothing and furniture were expected to exit. On Thursday, 680 trucks came in through Kerem Shalom Crossing, 273 of them carrying construction materials, while trucks carrying vegetables, fish, clothing and furniture exited.

Rafah Crossing is closed all this week due to the holiday. Scores of Gaza residents have reportedly been waiting on the Egyptian side of the crossing to return home for many days and in difficult conditions.