May 30, 2021. Israel has not yet restored operations at Erez and Kerem Shalom since closing the crossings completely on May 11. More than a week into the ceasefire, Israel continues to severely restrict travel to and from Gaza and is prohibiting all exit of goods for sale outside the Strip, as well as entry of fuel for Gaza’s power plant, construction materials, and other items. Israel also continues to limit access to the “fishing zone” it enforces in Gaza’s sea space to a maximal distance of just six nautical miles off shore. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees reports that the Israeli navy has been firing at fishing boats and their crews within this area of sea as well.
Since May 25, Israel has allowed travel through Erez in rare cases, mostly to foreign staff of international organizations and foreign journalists. Patients seeking may exit Erez only in emergencies, in extraordinary circumstances and mainly by ambulance. Among the many patients denied access to medical treatment under Israel’s current policy at Erez are cancer patients in need of treatment that is not available inside Gaza. In an urgent appeal (Hebrew) to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and Defense Minister, Gisha and partner organizations cautioned that this conduct is illegal and extremely unreasonable.
At Kerem Shalom Crossing, only food, animal feed, and humanitarian aid for international organizations is being allowed to enter the Strip. The Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza told Gisha that as a result of Israel’s ongoing ban on exit of goods from Gaza, the local market has been flooded with surplus produce, causing heavy financial losses for farmers and suppliers, who are forced to sell at a loss, or destroy their crops.
Israel’s restrictions on the entry of construction materials have driven the price of cement up by 27 percent. The ongoing prohibition on the entry of fuel for the power plant has led to a decrease in Gaza’s overall power supply and impaired the functioning of the health, water and sanitation systems. Today, the Israel Electric Corporation completed repairs to power lines inside Israel that were damaged during hostilities. According to an update released by the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO), Gaza residents are now receiving 165 megawatts of electricity, which is about a third of actual demand and enough for just six consecutive hours of power followed by 12-hour outages. A GEDCO spokesperson told Gisha that there is an acute shortage in materials required to repair the remaining damage caused to Gaza’s power grid.