The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have announced their intent to destroy and remove Al Muntar (Karni) crossing and attached structures. In the morning hours of Monday 2 January 2012, the IOF began destroying buildings at the crossing. This move will wipe out one of Gaza’s main economic gateways, which was used to provide the Strip with commodities and goods. It was also used to export Palestinian agricultural and industrial products from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank and the outside world.
It’s worth noting that the IOF has impeded work at the crossing since the beginning of the second Intifada. On 9 October 2000, the IOF limited the work shift at the crossing to a few hours a day, and began closing the crossing completely more than once a week. On 31 March 2007, Israeli authorities announced the complete closure of the crossing until further notice. However, since then, the IOF has never reopened the crossing; not even partially. On 2 March 2011, Israeli authorities completely closed the crossing and announced their intent to remove it.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights notes that closing and destroying the crossing restricts the operation of the crossings to Karm Abu Salim (Kerem Shalom), a crossing which is lacking in equipment and capacity. This crossing’s geographical position burdens customers and merchants with additional losses resulting from the long-distance transportation of goods, increased transfer fees, and increased loading and unloading fees. The working capacity of Karm Abu Salem is not sufficient for the level of commercial exchange between Gaza and the West Bank and between Gaza and Israel that would result in the event that the Israeli siege was lifted.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its strongest condemnation of the destruction and removal of Al Muntar crossing. Al Mezan views this as a step towards entrenchment of the Israeli siege on Gaza. Destroying the crossing impedes the movement of goods and individuals inside and outside the Strip. On the commercial level, it must also be considered a step towards final separation between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Therefore, Al Mezan calls on the international community to condemn this move and to halt it, and to promptly intervene to lift the Israeli siege on Gaza, which amounts to one of the worst forms of racial discrimination.