After rocket attacks continued Wednesday night, Israel on Thursday decided to close the Gaza Strip’s only operating commercial crossing.
“Kerem Shalom has been closed until further notice in light of the security events that took place over the past several days and in accordance with security assessments,” an IDF spokeswoman said.
Hundreds of trucks, carrying cement, food and other goods, usually pass through Kerem Shalom into Gaza daily.
The spokeswoman added that Israel also largely closed the Erez crossing, the sole pedestrian between Gaza and Israel.
She said that only humanitarian cases, which receive the approval of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, the branch of the Defense Ministry responsible for liaising with the Palestinians, would be allowed to cross.
Humanitarian cases usually refer to ill persons seeking treatment outside of the Strip.
Over the past week, more than 10 rockets were shot into Israel from Gaza. On Wednesday, four rockets were fired into Israel including two that were intercepted
by the Iron Dome defense system.
Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Ministry Spokesman Walid Wahdan slammed Israel for closing Kerem Shalom and limiting access to Erez.
“They told us that they closed the borders because of the security situation,” Wahdan said. “But the truth is that this is collective punishment. We are against this move and strongly believe that the borders should remain open in both directions.”
The PA Civil Affairs Ministry is in charge of coordinating civil affairs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with Israeli authorities.
Wahdan added: “People in Gaza are already under so much pressure. So it is unacceptable to put more pressure on them. Decisions like these only make people think in negative ways.”
Gaza suffers from acutely high unemployment and inadequate electricity and water infrastructure. Most of the Strip’s residents receive some form of humanitarian aid.
Egypt seldom opens the Rafah crossing to Sinai.