Gaza Merchants Protest Israel’s Arbitrary Revocation of Permits

Hassan was detained at Israel’s Erez border crossing near the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo: via Wikimedia Commons)

A group of Palestinian merchants and businessmen organized a sit-in on Monday at Israel’s Erez border crossing near the southern Gaza Strip, to protest against Israel’s policy of withdrawing Israeli work permits  – without providing reason or justification.

The protesters expressed their frustrations, saying “the policy of withdrawing our permits has increased recently as Israel attempts to weaken the economy of Gaza Strip,” which, they highlighted, has already been left devastated “by the Israeli siege and previous wars on Gaza”.

Tamer Ajouz, a local automobile businessman told Ma’an tht the purpose of the demonstration, which was organized by the Chamber of Commerce in Gaza, was to protest against the decision by Israeli authorities to either cancel or not renew around 1,400 regular exit permits for Gazan merchants, nearly a third of approximately 3,700 business people who have received long-term exit permits in recent years.

The revocations began earlier this year, and were numbered in the hundreds, according to a senior official in the Palestinian liaison office. Israeli authorities also failed to apply the usual protocol of making media announcements regarding permit revocations.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said entrance permits for crossings into Israel from the Gaza Strip have been rescinded to “prevent further abuse of permits for malicious purposes.”

COGAT said there were more than 1,000 people crossings from Gaza into Israel via the Erez crossing every day, “for the purposes of business and trade, prayers at the Temple Mount, medical treatments, academic studies abroad, and more.”


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