New position paper by Gisha: Creeping Punishment
A new position paper by Gisha looks at what might be a new policy of closing Kerem Shalom Crossing and further restricting travel through Erez Crossing following rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The position paper details the number of days during which movement through the crossings was restricted since rocket fire resumed in February. It examines the effects of the closures on both residents of Gaza and farmers in Israel, and reviews what has been said about the new policy in the security establishment. The paper also asks whether the closures constitute collective punishment in breach of international law.
Since February 26, 2013, the Defense Ministry has imposed restrictions on civilian movement in response to rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel. Kerem Shalom crossing was closed for transfer of commercial goods and travel by individuals through the Erez crossing was further restricted on the following dates:
• February 27 to March 3
• March 21 to March 27
• April 8 to April 11
• April 28 to April 30
If closing the crossings is in fact the new strategy for responding to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, even if it is applied inconsistently, a few questions ought to be raised about the policy, including how it was decided upon and how it affects residents of the Gaza Strip and citizens of Israel.