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Israeli authorities detain Palestinian man escorting ill wife at Erez

The Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel, closed on the Gaza-side by Hamas officials in response to the assasination of one of it's leaders, Mazen Fuqaha, in the Gaza Strip on March 24, 2016 [Mohammed Asad / Middle East Monitor]
The Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel in the Gaza Strip on 24 March 2016 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The Israeli authorities detained a Palestinian man, who was escorting his ill wife, while at the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun) in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, Ma’an News has reported.

The Jenin Media Center said that Karam Mustafa Muhammad Tantawi, 51, from Khan Younis, was escorting his ill wife, Safaa Abed al-Majid Tantawi, 47, back to the Gaza Strip after she had received medication for cancer in Jerusalem City.

The centre reported that the couple left the Gaza Strip, along with her husband, to Jerusalem City for treatment on April 1st, however, on their way back after 20 days of receiving treatment and while at the Erez crossing, the Israeli authorities held her husband for 15 minutes before they ordered her to head back to the Gaza Strip without her husband.

Tantawi refused to leave without her husband and waited for him at the crossing and was then informed by the Palestinian Civil Liaison that her husband was detained.

READ: 5,600 Palestinians in Hebron must cross Israel checkpoint to reach their home

Erez is the only land crossing between Gaza and Israel, although travel is heavily restricted by Israeli authorities as part of a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave in place since 2007.

Palestinians detained at Erez are often interrogated for several hours, sometimes for days, before they are either allowed into Israel en route to the West Bank or sent back to Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory.

Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008.

The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020, as its more than 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 Palestinians who remain displaced since 2014.

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