A palestinian woman sits on a suitcase at Israel’s Erez Crossing after leaving Gaza on Sunday..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinians can no longer carry laptops and certain other electronics through the pedestrian Erez crossing from Gaza into Israel, according to the leftwing NGO Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.
The ban, which has been imposed on Palestinians entering Israel or transiting through Israel to Jordan via the Allenby crossing, includes electronics such as shavers, but mobile phones are permitted. Food and toiletries are also forbidden, except for those Gazans heading to Israel for medical treatment.
Gisha said Friday it learned of the ban by Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories a day earlier from the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration.
The new restrictions apply only to Palestinians, including Palestinian employees of international organizations who need their laptops for work, Gisha said.
“This new directive just makes life a little more difficult for Gaza residents and it’s hard to understand for what purpose.”
Israel doesn’t “appreciate that students and businesspeople from Gaza also need to travel with laptops like anyone else in the world. It can happen because Israel doesn’t pay a price for inconveniencing Gaza residents, and just like that, from one day to the next, not even a sandwich can get through the Erez crossing,” Gisha said.
COGAT said it would issue a response on Sunday.
Last month, Gisha reported that the number of Palestinians leaving Gaza through Erez had dropped 55% in the first half of 2017.
“The monthly average was only 6,302 exits in the first half of 2017, compared to a monthly average of more than 14,000 exits in the first half of 2016,” it said.