For second day, Israel shuts Erez Crossing to workers and merchants from Gaza
For the second day in a row, Israeli authorities have closed down the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, tightening the movement of Palestinian workers and merchants until further notice, in response to rockets that were launched from the coastal enclave.
Ghassan Alyan, the Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Occupied Territories, said in a press statement that "the crossing will remain closed. This decision will be re-evaluated in the upcoming days based on the assessment of the security establishment in Tel Aviv."
According to Alyan, the decision came after rockets were launched from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip into Israeli towns nearby to the coastal enclave.
Gaza workers hope for a better life after obtaining work permits in Israelhttps://t.co/uHiF2E2hiz— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) March 25, 2022
"Closing the crossing and preventing entry of Palestinian workers and merchants from the besieged Gaza strip is viewed as a means by Israel to push residents in Gaza to apply pressure on the Hamas leadership, as well as armed Palestinian factions, not to launch rockets at Israel in response to the Israeli violations in Jerusalem," Hussam al-Dajani, a Gaza-based political expert, told The New Arab.
Ahmed Baraka, a worker from Khan Yunis city in the southern Gaza Strip, anxiously follows any news regarding the reopening of the crossing so that he can return to his work in the industrial city of Rahat in Israel.
"I got the opportunity to work in Israel after many years of suffering from unemployment and poverty (...) I suffered a lot during this period because of my inability to provide for my family," the 40-year-old father of six told The New Arab.
"I got work in Israel about three months ago, during which I was able to earn a lot of money that helped keep my family afloat," he added.
Baraka expressed his hope that the political crises will not negatively impact the humanitarian situation, especially since "Gaza workers are civilians who seek to improve the economic situation of their poor families."
According to Palestinian and Israeli estimates, about 12,000 workers from Gaza enter Israel to work there, each of whom receives salaries that range from $US 120 to $US 150 per day.
For its part, the Israeli Army Radio announced on Saturday that Israel decided to implement "an economic response" rather than a military one towards rocket fire from the besieged Strip.
The radio indicated that closing the Erez checkpoint for one day equals a loss of about $US 1,600,000.