Erez trap: A tighter grip on the Gaza Strip

Palestinian Information Center

Erez (400 x 236)

It has been three months since the Israeli authorities arrested Akram Yassin, a 35-year-old businessman from Gaza, as he passed through Erez Crossing in the north of the Gaza Strip.

Yassin is a Palestinian businessman from Gaza. He is a transporter of food and feed with an Israeli commercial permit to pass through Erez Crossing. Yassin was arrested at Erez Crossing, like 30 other Gaza businessmen who have been arrested since the start of 2015, in a new Israeli means to suffocate the Strip economically.

Saleh Yassin, brother of Akram Yassin, confirmed that the Israeli Court postponed his brother’s trial and accused him of smuggling banned raw materials to the Strip.

Saleh confirmed that the Yassin family hired a lawyer for the defense. However, the Israeli authorities are trying to evade the trial by delaying it for unknown reasons.

Erez Crossing is no longer a safe way for the Palestinian patients and businessmen as it has become a trap for the citizens of Gaza in an Israeli attempt to force them to collaborate with Israel.

A policy to destroy Gaza economy

The Palestinian Businessmen Association in Gaza condemned the recent Israeli arrest of a number of businessmen at Erez Crossing, including Khalid Lubbad, a member of the Association’s Board of Directors.

Head of the Palestinian Business Association, Ali Al-Hayek, said, “Arresting the Palestinian businessmen is a new and dangerous phenomenon that would have repercussions for the Palestinian economy that has already been suffocating for eight years as a result for the continuous Israeli blockade.”

Al-Hayek described the Israeli practices against the Palestinian businessmen as “kidnapping not arresting” that aim to destroy the Palestinian economy, to keep the Palestinian dependence on the Israeli products, and to guarantee selling the Israeli businessmen’s imported goods in Gaza markets.

Al-Hayek confirmed the Gaza businessmen’s fear for their safety when passing through the Gaza-West Bank crossings. He also stressed their need for a free movement to do their business. Al-Hayek added that the Association contacted the authorities in charge and clarified the risks facing the Palestinian business and businessmen due to such Israeli practices.

He considered the Israeli arrests of businessmen as targeting the Palestinian economy that was severely affected by the latest Israeli aggression on the Strip in the summer of 2014. Restrictions on businessmen are a total destruction of the Palestinian economy, he opined.

The businessmen in the Strip refused the Israeli policy of arrests that tighten the siege on Gaza and negatively affect the life of all Palestinians in the Strip.

Al-Hayek called on the PLO and international organizations to intervene to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to release the businessmen and stop the abusive practices.

Forced collaboration

Abd Al-Nassir Ferwana, head of the Statistics Department in the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, said that the arrests of the Palestinian businessmen at Erez Crossing have recently increased. He expressed concern regarding this new Israeli policy in a statement to the PIC reporter.

Ferwana stressed the importance of ending the Israeli attempts to coerce the Palestinians to collaborate with Israel at Erez Crossing. He demanded that the Ministry of National Economy, the human rights organizations, and the international organizations, such as the WTO, put pressure on Israel to release the Palestinian businessmen, facilitate their movement, and ensure their safety.