The Israeli regime has sealed crossing points with the besieged Gaza Strip, preventing thousands of workers from getting to their jobs in the occupied Palestinian territories and further exacerbating the humanitarian situation in the impoverished enclave.
Israeli authorities on Sept. 20 confirmed that the Erez crossing into Gaza was closed and said it would be re-opened “in accordance with situational assessments.”
The move stops more than 18,000 Palestinians from crossing for work, depriving the blockaded territory’s ailing economy of around $2 million a day, according to local economists.
The closure, which follows a ban on exports from Gaza earlier this month, will add pressure to an economy already under strain due to a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.
“We are too afraid the crossing won’t open anytime soon and I go back to living in poverty and need,” media outlets quoted one Gaza father of five, who has been sleeping at the Palestinian side of Erez crossing since the evening of Sept. 17.
Ayman Abu Krayyem, the spokesman of Gaza Ministry of Labor, said that as a result of the closure thousands of workers have been stranded in the blockaded territory since the ban.
“Those are losing 3.2 million shekel ($842,000) a day. These are important money by which they could help their families and improve their economic conditions. … This is a collective punishment,” said Krayyem.
The latest closure comes as protests backed by Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups have been held for days, against issues ranging from the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to the desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound by extremist settlers.
Israeli occupation forces have killed three Palestinians during a raid in the occupied West Bank, and another Palestinian protester in a separate incident in Gaza since Sept. 19.
The Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which is in charge of al-Aqsa Mosque affairs, said in a statement that Israeli forces had permitted the provocative settler incursion.
The regime soldiers also assaulted Muslim worshipers and tried to forcibly evacuate them from the al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard, it noted.
Israeli settler incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque and violence against Palestinians have been on the rise since the far-right extremist cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office last December.
Israeli blockade keeps wreaking havoc on Gaza
Tel-Aviv’s move to shut down the crossings will further complicate living conditions in the impoverished enclave. The Israeli blockade has wreaked havoc on the economy of Gaza and worsened its humanitarian conditions.
On Sept. 17, the World Bank said restrictions imposed by the Israeli regime and the worsening economic condition in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank hinder the Palestinians’ access to healthcare.
Devastated by 16 years of the Israeli blockade and recurrent military attacks, Gaza’s healthcare system faces immense challenges, with the entry of vital medical supplies, equipment and medications severely restricted by the regime. (PressTV.ir)