Erez Crossing closed again; Tens of thousands on waiting list to exit Gaza through Rafah

Erez Crossing. Photo by Gisha.

September 5, 2018. Israel closed Erez Crossing for exit from Gaza, other than by medical patients. Yesterday near the crossing in Gaza, protesters damaged the gate on the Palestinian side of Erez as well as windows and security cameras on site. The crossing was due for closure by Israel next week during the Jewish New Year festival Rosh Hashana, and could remain closed until Wednesday, September 12. The crucial crossing, Gaza’s only gateway for movement of Gaza residents to Israel, the West Bank, and abroad, was closed by Israel for eight days in August, and was only reopened last week.

Rafah Crossing is open, but the list of people waiting to exit the Strip via Egypt includes approximately 30 thousand people. Since the beginning of August and until August 25, a total of 4,084 entries and 6,455 exits were registered at Rafah, out of which 3,654 were exits by hajj pilgrims.

For five days last week, Rafah Crossing was only open to entrance of hajj pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia, delaying the exit of many Palestinians. The waiting period to exit through Rafah is weeks, even months long. People returning to Gaza through Rafah via Sinai describe very difficult travel conditions, including days of waiting without shelter or food before they are allowed to enter the Strip.

Kerem Shalom has been opened regularly for the entry and exit of goods since Thursday, August 23, after Eid el Adha, and is due to be closed again by Israel during the Jewish New Year, from Sunday to Tuesday next week (September 9 – 11).

Erez Crossing must be opened again as soon as possible, and should not be closed by Israel as a punitive measure against Gaza residents.