Israel Imposes ‘Laptop Ban’ on Palestinians Leaving Gaza

Erez checkpoint, separating Gaza from Israel. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, PC, file)

Israel has reportedly imposed a new wave of restrictions on Palestinians traveling in and out of the besieged Gaza Strip, where residents have suffered under countless bans and restrictions for over a decade, owing to Israel’s land, air, and sea blockade on Gaza.

Israeli news website Ynet reported that the new set of restrictions include a ban on laptop computers, hard-shell suitcases, toiletries such as shampoo and toothpaste, and food — except for medical patients who need food for personal consumption.

According to Ynet, Israeli officials have cited unspecified “security reasons,” a common Israeli practice when it comes to imposing restrictions on Palestinian movement throughout the occupied Palestinian territory.

The news outlet added that everyone from engineers, journalists, businesspeople and human rights workers — so long as they are Palestinian — are subject to the bans, while foreigners would be exempt.

“Israel has in the past stated its fears that explosive devices could be smuggled in using such electronic items,” Ynet said, adding that “such bans and restrictions have been enacted in the US and EU countries due to intelligence indicating that terror groups such as ISIS have used them to smuggle explosives.”

Ynet, however, did not mention that such bans in the US and UK only restrict the carry on of laptops and large mobile devices on-board flights departing from a number of airports — mostly from the Middle East and Africa — while passengers can then pick up their devices after their flights and proceed to enter the country to which they are travelling.

The Israeli ban, as it has been reported, would prevent any Palestinian leaving Gaza from carrying laptops with them, and would force students, businesspeople, and a range of other Palestinians to leave their electronic devices behind in a place where being able to travel in and out of is not always guaranteed, and is subject to the control of Israel’s strict permit regime.

According to Ynet, the ban took effect on August 1, and “applies to all Palestinians (leaving Gaza) who want to travel to Israel, or through Israel to the West Bank and neighboring Jordan.”

(Maan, PC, Social Media)

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