Defense minister orders Kerem Shalom Crossing closed and travel at Erez Crossing further restricted following rocket fire

June 24, 2013. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the closing of Kerem Shalom Crossing and for further restrictions on travel of people at Erez Crossing after six rockets were fired last night from Gaza towards southern Israel. Kerem Shalom is closed to movement of goods and only medical patients, Israeli citizens, foreigners and residents of the West Bank who wish to return home are being permitted to travel via the Erez crossing.

Deliberate or indiscriminate rocket fire on civilian population centers are a war crime and a breach of international law. However, the imposition of punitive measures against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip in response also constitutes a serious violation of international law based on the same principle of protection of civilians.

This will be the fifth occasion since February 26, 2013 in which the Defense Ministry has imposed restrictions on civilian movement in response to rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel. On May 5, Gisha published a position paper which reviews the policy of closing crossings following rocket fire from the Strip. The position paper surveys the effects of the closures on both residents of Gaza and farmers in Israel, and reviews what has been said about the new policy by the security establishment. The paper also examines whether the closures constitute collective punishment in breach of international law.

To read the position paper, click here.