Erez Crossing still closed

Erez crossing, 2016. Photo by Gisha

Erez crossing, 2016. Photo by Gisha

August 26, 2018. Israel continues to bar movement of people into and out of Gaza through Erez Crossing, other than in cases deemed to be “urgent humanitarian exceptions.” The decision to close the crossing was announced by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on August 19, and implemented the following morning.

Last week, Gisha sent the defense minister an urgent letter (Hebrew), demanding that Erez Crossing, Gaza’s only gateway to Israel and from Israel to the West Bank and abroad, be opened immediately.

“As a result of your decision, many traders from Gaza have been denied travel to the West Bank and Israel to conduct business,” stated the letter, which also mentioned the hundreds of Gaza residents whom Israel had already granted travel permits for family visits during Eid al-Adha, and were unable to exit the Strip.

The letter also stated that: “The avowed motive for imposing these restrictions cannot serve as justification for the drastic measures that were implemented. According to reports, your decision to instruct that Erez Crossing be closed was not based on any inevitable necessity, nor does it serve security objectives.” Consequently, the closing of Erez Crossing constitutes illegal and immoral collective punishment.