The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli Occupation Forces’ (IOF) closure of Kerem Shalom commercial crossing for the third consecutive day to Gaza exports of all types. PCHR warns against the catastrophic repercussions on hundreds of industrial facilities that market their products abroad and may cease operation.
The Israeli occupation authorities had issued a decision to halt Gaza exports of all types through the only commercial crossing, “Kerem Shalom,” starting from Tuesday, 05 September 2023, until further notice. It is worth noting that for 17 years, the Israeli authorities have imposed restrictions on Gaza exports which do not exceed 10% of Gaza’s total monthly exports before the unjust closure imposed in 2007.
This decision further tightens the Israeli illegal closure on the Gaza Strip, an unjustified escalatory move that perpetuates IOF’s collective punishment policy against 2 million Palestinians and constitutes a serious violation of the international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949
According to PCHR’s follow-up, the Israeli decision to halt Gaza’s exports has inflicted heavy financial losses amounting to millions of dollars to important economic sectors, including agriculture, fishing, and industrial sectors. The Palestinian Ministry of National Economy has announced that Gaza exports amount to 134 million dollars annually and continuing to ban Gaza export would hinder development and cause heavy losses to the economic sectors. Moreover, the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture has reported daily losses of 1 million shekels, while the textile sector has incurred losses of 3 million dollars.
Moreover, this decision may lead to discharging thousands of workers and endangering their livelihoods, including 60000 workers in the agricultural and fishing sectors, and 9000 workers in the textile and clothes sector. This would exacerbate their living and humanitarian conditions and depriving them of meeting their families’ basic needs.
It should be noted that the Israeli occupation bans the entry of so-called “dual-use items” which are about 61 essential items, including hundreds of goods and commodities that are of the population’s necessities of life. Imposing restrictions on entry of these items leads to the deterioration of population’s economic and social rights and worsens their living and humanitarian conditions as the unemployment rate has reached 46%, 70% among youth. Moreover, more than half of the population lives in poverty as the poverty rate has recorded 60%, and 68.5% of the Gaza population suffers from food insecurity. Additionally, 80% of the Gaza population relies on international aid.
For years under the Israeli-imposed closure, economic facilities have been systematically targeted as IOF intended to paralyze their productivity and destroy Gaza’s economy, rendering it dependent on the Israeli economy.
Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli authorities to end its collective punishment policy, fulfill their obligations, open the crossings, and allow the free movement of goods to and from the Gaza Strip.