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Israel NGO urges government to open Gaza crossings

Palestinian Authority officials can be seen taking control of Gaza crossings [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

An Israeli human rights group has urged the government to open the occupied Gaza Strip’s crossings and allow Palestinian fishermen to work without delay.

According to Gisha, “despite the ceasefire agreement” that went into effect Monday, on Tuesday “Israel continued to enforce a closure on Gaza’s crossings, Erez and Kerem Shalom, and deny access to the Strip’s territorial waters”.

In addition, Israel has “imposed a general closure on the West Bank and on the crossings to Gaza”, so that “the crossings to Gaza will remain closed until the weekend, meaning they will only be opened on Sunday (May 12), at the very soonest”.

In an urgent letter to the Israeli authorities, Gisha emphasised “the drastic implications of the crossings’ continued closure and the ban on access to Gaza’s sea”.

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These include “delivery of goods to the Strip is obstructed, including humanitarian goods; people who have obtained permits to meet first-degree family members in humanitarian circumstances are denied access to their loved ones; medical patients miss crucial appointments for life-saving treatments that can take weeks, even months, to reschedule.”

Every day in which the crossings are closed and access to Gaza’s sea is denied entails irreversible damage to livelihoods, including of traders, farmers and fishermen, severely disrupting the already meagre industry and commerce in the Strip

Gisha added.

The NGO noted that Israeli occupation authorities’ closure of the Gaza crossings “has nothing to do with the security of Israeli citizens. There is cause for concern that Israel’s closure of the crossings constitutes collective punishment, which is illegal and morally reprehensible. Israel must open the crossings and allow access to Gaza’s sea space, without further delay.”

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