Kerem Shalom Crossing operating as usual, despite withdrawal of PA employees

February 18, 2019. Kerem Shalom Crossing has continued operating as usual today, despite reports of the Palestinian Authority (PA) withdrawing its employees from the crossing. The PA employees that were present at the crossing prior to the withdrawal were representatives of the PA ministries of finance and health, among others, that were filling roles related to administration, tax collection and security. The PA’s Committee on Coordination of Goods is continuing to coordinate vis-à-vis Israeli authorities on movement of goods to and from the Strip.

In practice, the crossing is now operating as it had been prior to November 2017. In November 2017, an agreement was signed by the PA and Hamas, which led to an increase in PA presence at Kerem Shalom, Erez and Rafah crossings. In early January this year, PA forces were also withdrawn at Rafah. After being closed to exit from Gaza for several weeks, Rafah re-opened in February.

To give context on Kerem Shalom, we note that during 2018, an average of 8,424 truckloads of goods entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing every month, as well as an average of 545 truckloads of fuel per month; the average number of goods exiting the Strip was 217 truckloads per month.

Gisha reiterates that Gaza’s crossings are vital lifelines for the Strip’s civilian population of two million, and must remain open regardless of the political context.