The area of the Gaza Strip is 365 km and is inhabited by about two million people, more than 60% of whom are refugees. It is bordered by Egypt in the south, the Mediterranean in the west, Jordan in the east, while Syria and Lebanon in the north. Travelers move from it to the outside world through Egypt-controlled Rafah border in the south and the Erez crossing in the north, which connects the West Bank and the occupied territories.
“Despite the severity of the epidemic shock, the occupation remains the principal hurdle to development in the occupied Palestinian territory,” a UN report on the situation inside the occupied Palestinian territories over the previous period stated.
The Gaza Strip has been under siege for more than fourteen years, preventing approximately two million people from communicating with the outside world and traveling freely through Gaza crossings controlled by the occupation forces or those under Egyptian control, except in difficult circumstances and after waiting for a long period of time and conditions that prevent most citizens from traveling except a very specific cases. The blockade has resulted in a 63% increase in unemployment, as well as a 62.2% increase in food insecurity.
These crossings are used for human movement as well as the transport of commercial items, foodstuffs, and basic needs for Gaza Strip residents. Closing the crossings entirely or partially implies depriving people of their most basic human rights of movement, and also causing a severe food and humanitarian crisis.
For instance, Gaza exports through the Erez crossing averaged 256 trucks per month between January and September 2021, compared to 1064 trucks before the closure was tightened in June 2007. The rate of departing people reached 778 Palestinians per day in January and February during the Corona closure, compared to more than 24.00 Palestinians per day before the start of the second intifada in 2000.
Israeli occupation allow only patients, merchants, some employees, and certain private cases to obtain permits to enter the West Bank or the occupied territories. According to statistics from the Public Authority for Civil Affairs, during the month of November 2021, the occupation authorities allowed 17,289 people to pass, while the families of detainees were not allowed to visit their children in the occupation prisons in violation of international laws and human rights.
In terms of the Rafah Crossing, an average of 4,767 Palestinians per month passed in both directions in the first nine months of 2020. The number was 12,172 in 2019 compared to 2013 when the number of travelers in both directions exceeded 40,000. In 2021, 88,510 Palestinians left, while the overall number of people who arrived was 70,771, with an average of 198 operating days compared to 135 closing days.