Palestinians denounce Israel’s decision to close Gaza crossing | Human Rights News
Israel’s decision to close its only crossing point to Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip has been denounced as a “collective punishment” for the two million inhabitants of this impoverished territory who have lived under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for nearly 15 years old.
The move, announced on Saturday, comes after the Israeli military accused Hamas, the armed group that rules the Gaza Strip, of firing three rockets into Israel on Friday evening, as tensions continue to rise during the holy month. Ramadan Muslim.
One hit open ground inside Israel, while another fell inside Palestinian territory, the Israeli military said, without providing details of the third.
Earlier this week, the Israeli military said four rockets were launched from Gaza but were intercepted by air defense systems.
“Following the firing of rockets into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip last night, it has been decided that crossings into Israel for merchants and workers from Gaza through the Erez crossing will not be permitted next Sunday.” , COGAT, a Defense Ministry unit responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, said in a statement.
The Gaza Workers’ Union said the shutdown was “collective punishment” and would hurt the already struggling economy, where unemployment hovers around 50%.
He said the timing of the closure, just before the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan, would aggravate the pain for families struggling to make ends meet.
Union leader Sami Amassi said the permits themselves were intended to “exploit” workers for political ends, rather than improving their lives.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Wassem said the move “aims to reinforce the siege and constitutes a form of aggression that we cannot accept.”
“It will not succeed. Policing collective punishment against Palestinians has always proven its failure,” he told The Associated Press.
Israel carried out airstrikes in different areas of the Gaza Strip twice last week, with the Israeli military saying its fighter jets were attacking military targets.
The exchange of fire took place amid growing tension at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, which has been at the center of several days of violence following a series of Israeli incursions into the site. holy, which began at the beginning of Ramadan.
At least 57 Palestinians were injured on Friday when Israeli forces raided the mosque and attacked worshipers with rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.
Tear gas was also fired after Friday prayers, hitting Palestinians worshiping at the Dome of the Rock inside the compound.
Al-Aqsa sits atop the plateau of East Jerusalem’s Old City, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move that has not been recognized internationally.
The Palestinians want occupied East Jerusalem to be the capital of their hoped-for future state.
Palestinians accuse Israel of restricting Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa – Islam’s third holiest site – while failing to do enough to enforce a longstanding ban on Jewish prayer in the compound. Israel denies it.
Incursions by settlers under police protection during the Jewish holiday of Passover last week led to daily clashes with Palestinians at the mosque, leaving scores injured and arrested.
On the first day of Passover, April 15, at least 158 Palestinians were injured and 400 others were arrested inside the compound. Dozens more were injured and arrested throughout the week.
Despite fears of an escalation on the ground, the Palestinians said their continued presence in Al-Aqsa was imperative.
Ramadan represents a rare opportunity for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank as they are only allowed to enter the city with a military permit which is difficult to obtain outside the holy month.
As Passover has ended and entrance to the mosque will be restricted to Muslims for the last 10 days of Ramadan, tensions on the ground in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank remain high.
On Friday, thousands of Palestinians took part in a mass rally called by the Hamas movement to show solidarity in the face of continued Israeli raids in occupied Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
During the demonstration in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, demonstrators held up banners declaring Palestinian rule over the Al-Aqsa Mosque and chanted slogans deploring Israeli attacks on worshippers.
Weeks of protests and raids by Israeli forces on Al-Aqsa during Ramadan last year turned into a widespread uprising across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and an 11-day assault on the beleaguered Gaza Strip.