Petition filed to open Karni

'Israel must allow normal life' in Gaza.

A petition was filed with the High Court of Justice on Wednesday demanding an immediate opening of the Karni crossing "for regular, sufficient and predictable hours" to enable orderly and proper passage of goods to and from the Gaza Strip. The petitioners are the Gaza-based Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Palestinian Consumer Protection Organization, Gisha, the Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement and a Palestinian farmer and businessman, Younis Shabana. The petitioners charged that since January 15, the Karni crossing has been closed except for brief periods in which limited passage was allowed. The closure, which began at the height of the agricultural export season, has already caused more than $24 million in losses to the Palestinian economy. Each day the crossing is closed causes the loss of up to half a million dollars, the petitioners claimed. Furthermore, the closure has blocked off humanitarian supplies to the civilian population, including food and medicine. It has resulted in shortages of flour, baby formula, medicines and other goods. According to the petitioners, under international law Israel is obliged to allow the provision of humanitarian goods to Gaza and permit normal life. The duty stems from Israel's control over the passage of goods to and from Gaza by land and the fact that it has prevented the Palestinians from having an international seaport or airport. "The employees are not working and I am supposed to destroy all the remaining produce in the factories and greenhouses," Shabana complained in the petition.