Erez and Kerem Shalom Crossings resume “normal” operations

Erez crossing. Photo by Gisha

Erez crossing. Photo by Gisha

November 19, 2018. Erez Crossing resumed regular operations today after a week of restrictions on the Palestinian side, with security forces in Gaza only allowing patients and special cases to exit the Strip since November 12.

Erez Crossing operated for a total of 19 days during the month of October. The crossing’s operations were severely disrupted for two days in the middle of the month when Israel closed Erez in response to rockets landing in Israel’s territory as well as on the day when the Israeli municipal elections were held. On these days, Israel allowed access for some humanitarian cases and foreign nationals. The crossing was also completely closed on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

A total of 10,187 exits by Palestinians were recorded during October, with an increased number of exits by medical patients and merchants. This figure is 71 percent higher than the monthly average number of exits last year when the closure was severely tightened, yet still 29 percent lower than the monthly average number of exits in 2015.

Kerem Shalom Crossing resumed normal operations for incoming and outgoing goods this week after movement to and from the crossing was delayed last week due to protests on the Israeli side of the crossing. In October, Kerem Shalom operated for 19 full days, during which 11,701 truckloads of goods entered Gaza. This is the largest number of trucks that have entered Gaza in one month since November 2016. A total of 207 truckloads of goods exited the Strip in October.

Last week, a fisherman was shot and killed in the “fishing zone” by Israeli forces, and Gaza fishermen’s access to the sea was denied. This week, fishing is being permitted up to six nautical miles off the coast in the waters north of Wadi Gaza. South of this area, fishing is permitted up to nine nautical miles offshore.

In October, Rafah Crossing was open for travel from Gaza to Egypt on 22 days, and for travel from Egypt into the Strip on 25 days. During those days, 6,609 exits to Egypt were recorded, an 8 percent increase compared to September. On the other hand, the number of entries into Gaza dropped significantly, some 57 percent, with only 3,122 entries recorded. The crossing has been open an average of five days per week since July.