Published on July 25, 2001

CLOSURE UPDATE NO. 38

 

A Report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on the Closure Imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip

 

For the 10th consecutive month, the Israeli occupation forces have imposed a total siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), including areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip under the control of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). They have maintained the closure on international border crossings of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and have also placed military roadblocks on the main roads within the OPT, restricting movement between Palestinian cities.

Since June 2, 2001, the Israeli occupation authorities have tightened the total siege imposed on the OPT. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation forces have restricted internal movement by placing more roadblocks at Al-Matahen, Kfar Darom and Al-Shuhada’ junctions on Salah El-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip). They have maintained a strict siege on Al-Mawasi area in Khan Yunis and Rafah and on Al-Sayafa area between “Dogit” and “Elli Sinai” settlements in the northern Gaza Strip. They have also restricted traveling through Rafah Border Crossing on the border with Egypt.

This is the 37th special update in a series published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on the total closure imposed by the Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza Strip. The series documents the impacts of the closure on the economic and social conditions in the Gaza Strip. This update covers the following:

  1. Continued Restrictions at Commercial Crossings

Israeli occupation forces have maintained a total siege on the Gaza Strip. They have closed most border crossings and outlets and have complicated procedures at Al-Mentar (Karni) and Sofa Crossings, causing further deterioration to Palestinian economic activities.

  1. Continued Closure of Al-Mentar (Karni) Crossing

Al-Mentar (Karni) Outlet, one of the major commercial crossings of the Gaza Strip, has been frequently closed by the Israeli occupation authorities since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Under the closures, the entry of goods, especially construction raw materials, has been obstructed.

The Israeli occupation authorities had already abandoned the “Levoi” system, under which Palestinian trucks would cross Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing in convoys accompanied by Israeli security. All commercial movement was shifted to Al-Mentar (Karni) Crossing. In March, the average number of trucks that crossed the crossing was 300 trucks daily, 180-200 of which transported imported goods. Before the Intifada, 450 trucks used to cross the crossing, and another 120 used to cross Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing. Working days at the crossing have increased to 6 days a week, from 08:00 to 19:00 local time. On Wednesday, June 25, Israeli occupation forces had closed the outlet for 6 hours, claiming that they discovered attempts to smuggle weapons in a truck into the Gaza Strip.

Presently, the transport of goods at Al-Mentar (Karni) Crossing involves the transfer of the goods from Palestinian trucks to Israeli ones under strict security surveillance. The transfer costs an estimated 350 NIS (approximately US$85) per truck. Moreover, the Israeli occupation forces often close the crossing for several hours and sometimes for the entire day. Consequently, some goods, such as vegetables, flowers, strawberries and other foodstuffs, often rot.

Due to these obstacles, Palestinian economic sectors, especially agriculture and industry, have further deteriorated.

Israeli measures and frequent closures have severely damaged agriculture in the Gaza Strip, since export of agricultural products to the West Bank and neighboring Arab countries, especially tomatoes and cucumbers, has been halted. The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture estimated losses of Palestinian agriculture up to June 15 at US$ 288,266,194.

The impacts of closure on Palestinian agriculture can be attributed to the following:

  1. Palestinian farmers face difficulties in reaching their farms at demarcation points.

  2. Export of vegetables and fruits has been halted.

  3. The entry of basic materials necessary for agriculture has been denied.

Export of agricultural products from the Gaza Strip from October 1, 2000-June 15, 2001 can be compared with the same period in the previous season in the following table:

 

 

October 1, 2000 – June 15, 2001

October 1, 1999 – June 15, 2000

Product

Israel

Arab countries

Europe

Total

Israel

Arab countries

Europe

Total

Tomatoes

8,939

3,098

--

12,037

16,943

8,055

--

24,998

Cucumbers

6,560

--

--

6,560

19,841

--

--

19,841

Potatoes

586

788

--

1,374

358

12

--

370

Peppers

570

--

--

570

1,080

--

--

1,080

Eggplants

213

--

--

213

294

--

--

294

Marrow

519

--

--

519

2,805

--

--

2,805

Sweet potatoes

671

--

--

671

1,062

10

--

1,072

Small tomatoes

54

--

--

54

75

--

--

75

Various vegetables

731

--

--

731

2,137

--

--

2,137

Total

19,040

3,903

685

23,628

44,826

8,082

815

53,723

Flowers

220

3.6

1,455

1,678.6

251

4.1

1,580.9

1,836

Guavas

10

74

--

84

93

214

--

307

Dates

9

--

--

9

78

289

--

367

Eggs

1,593.2

--

--

1,593.2

2,372

--

--

2,372

Fish

81

--

--

81

82

--

--

82

 

Under the current total siege, the Palestinian industrial sector is further deteriorating, as more than 90% of industrial raw materials are exported from foreign countries through Israeli harbors, and Israeli occupation authorities have obstructed the clearance of these materials from harbors, apparently to cause further damage to the Palestinian industrial sector. Moreover, Palestinian laborers have not been able to reach their work places in Palestinian factories due to the internal siege. As a result, sales and exports of Palestinian industrial products have sharply decreased.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Industry, Israeli occupation authorities have blocked approximately 2,800 containers of goods and raw materials in Israeli harbors. Palestinian importers have to pay delay fines to the authorities of harbors. After Palestinian trucks had been denied movement, Palestinian importers resorted to Israeli ones, which cost them much more, as they have to pay US$ 150 for each truck. According to a report by the Ministry of Industry, losses to the Palestinian industrial sector since the outbreak of the Intifada have been estimated at approximately US$ 770 million. According to the same report, the Palestinian industrial production decreased by 77.43% between September 28 and December 12, 2000, while it has decreased by 50.46% since December 13. The following table illustrates these percentages distributed in kinds of industry:

 

Kind of industry

Contribution to industrial production before the Intifada

Percentage of decrease in industrial production from December 13, 2000 to July 31, 2001

Percentage of decrease in contribution to industrial production from December 13, 2000 to July 31, 2001

Building materials

31.6%

70%

22.12%

Food

20.3%

20%

4.06%

Ready-to-wear clothes

11.8%

55%

6.49

Shoes and leather products

6.5%

60%

3.9%

Chemical industries

3.2%

20

0.64%

Furniture

9.5%

40%

3.8%

Mechanic industries

9%

60%

5.4%

Plastic industries

4.5%

50%

2.25%

Paper industries

3.6%

50%

1.8%

Total

100%

 

50.46%

  1. Continued Closure of Sofa Crossing

    The Israeli occupation authorities re-closed Sofa Crossing, northeast of Rafah, blocking the access of approximately 1,200 Palestinian laborers to their work places in Israel. It is worth mentioning that Israeli occupation authorities reopened this crossing for Palestinian laborers on May 24. As a result of the closure of the crossing, the entry of construction raw materials into the Gaza Strip completely stopped. The Israeli occupation authorities had allowed the entry of aggregate and base course on Friday, March 16 under unfavorable conditions which resulted in an increase of the price of one ton of aggregate from 35 NIS (approximately US$ 8.50) to 85 NIS (approximately US$ 21).

    They allowed the entry of 2,500 tons of aggregate instead of 9,000. Consequently, construction in the Gaza Strip was significantly set back, and many concrete processing facilities stopped operation. In addition, some projects administered by municipalities and other institutions were halted.

  2. Continued Closure of Gaza International Airport and Re-closing Rafah Border Crossing to Commercial Transactions

    The Israeli occupation forces have maintained the closure of Gaza International Airport since Wednesday, February 14. On June 2, Israeli occupation forces closed Rafah Border Crossing, prohibiting commercial transactions from and into the Gaza Strip. The crossing had been operated under extremely cumbersome procedures since April 1.

    The crossing was closed repeatedly in May. On Monday, May 14, the Israeli occupation forces denied entry to Palestinian trucks at the crossing, because Israeli security personnel refused to carry out security checks of these trucks, claiming that their job was limited to external security of the crossing.

    Moreover, much of the medical and food assistance offered to the Palestinian National Authority, as well as Palestinian commercial goods have been blocked by Israeli occupation authorities at the crossing.

  3. Continued Closure of Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing

As of June 2, Israeli occupation forces have sustained the closure of Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing. The Israeli occupation forces have kept the crossing closed since October 8, thus denying entry of approximately 120 Palestinian trucks. Consequently, Palestinian traders have suffered large losses as their goods were blocked in Israeli harbours.

Furthermore, Palestinian VIPs have not been excluded from Israeli measures at the crossing. They were denied entry into the Gaza Strip through the crossing.

The Israeli occupation authorities have continued to deny access to more than 120,000 Palestinian laborers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to their work places in Israel. Consequently, unemployment has increased to more than 50%.

From March 27 to May 17, Israeli occupation authorities issued 5,935 work permits to Palestinian laborers. Those laborers were permitted to work in agriculture, services, industry and construction, provided that they were over 35 years of age and had more than one child. The following table shows the distribution of work permits among areas of the Gaza Strip in various fields of work:

Area

Agriculture

Services

Industry

Construction

Total

Jabalya

341

63

220

872

1,496

Gaza

266

254

381

1,058

1,959

Deir El-Balah

231

66

161

396

854

Khan Yunis

289

62

158

530

968

Rafah

289

29

87

253

658

Total

1,345

474

1,007

3,109

5,935

Nevertheless, many of these laborers from the Gaza Strip were not able to reach their work places due to the siege imposed by the Israeli occupation forces. On Thursday, May 17, only 3,780 out of 5,935 laborers were able to reach their work places.

Continued Suffering of Palestinian Laborers in Erez Industrial Zone

Approximately 3,500 Palestinian laborers working in Erez industrial zone have faced provocation and abuses by the Israeli occupation forces that take the forms of:

  1. Continued Restrictions on Travel

    Israeli occupation authorities have restricted movement of Gazans through Rafah Border Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt since June 16. It is worth mentioning that the crossing was repeatedly closed during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Most recently, it had been closed for 13 days starting on June 1 in the aftermath of a bombing in Tel Aviv. Under complicated Israeli measures, the Palestinian and Egyptian gates have witnessed too much congestion.

    At the Palestinian gate, more than 1,000 Palestinians have been trying to travel to Egypt for more than 20 days, but Israeli measures, including partial operation of the crossing, the denial of entry of Palestinian staff and decreasing working hours to 6 hours a day instead of 24 hours, have allowed the passage of only 200 Palestinian travelers daily. Other travelers, including dozens of patients, students, children and old people, have been forced to wait for days.

    In this context, PCHR’s researcher, Bassam Abu Hashish, describes his travel to Egypt and the suffering of Palestinian travelers at the crossing, refuting Israeli claims of easing the siege. He says:

    “On Thursday, June 21, 2001, at approximately 05:00 (local time), I arrived, together with my higher education colleagues, at the Palestinian gate of Rafah Border Crossing, wishing to travel to Egypt. There, we found hundreds of travelers, including patients, students, children, old people and traders, sitting on their luggage and bags, waiting to be allowed to pass to Egypt. It was clear that those people had waited for one day or even for days. I doubted that we would be able to travel to Egypt. However, fortunately, on that day, the Israeli occupation authorities allowed the entry of approximately 50 taxis, in which approximately 350 people traveled. Our taxi was number 42. I was informed that the Israeli occupation authorities had allowed the entry of approximately 20 taxis in the previous days. It seems that the media campaign that unveiled Israeli measures at the crossing led the Israeli occupation authorities to increase the number of travelers allowed to pass through the crossing. Some travelers attributed this to the presence of international media at the crossing, including the correspondent of the Israeli radio station, Hassan Abu Zayed, who interviewed several travelers, who expressed their annoyance by Israeli measures at the crossing. They also refuted Israeli claims of easing the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip since the start of Al-Aqsa Intifada.

    “Nine hours later, exactly at 14:00 (local time), we arrived at the Egyptian side of the crossing. It is worth mentioning that the distance between the Palestinian gate and the waiting hall at the Egyptian side is less than 1km, which means that arriving at the hall normally takes less than half an hour.

    “At the waiting hall at the Egyptian side, which was full of travelers, I saw what I had never expected, very horrible scenes. I asked myself: where were all these people? Is it possible that they were among the travelers who were waiting outside?

    “I was shocked by the scene of a woman carrying her 6-month-old infant. She had wet packs in her hand, trying to decrease the temperature of her infant. She looked very tired and her eyes sowed that she had cried very much. When I got close to her to offer help, I discovered that the infant was suffering from brain paralysis. The mother told me that she had waited for two days to travel to Egypt to treat her infant and that a relative of her was waiting for her at the Egyptian side of the crossing.

    “Around 300 travelers, including dozens of patients, handicapped and wounded, were waiting in the hall, and sometimes the number of travelers waiting at both sides of the crossing was in the thousands.”

    The Return to the Gaza Strip

    The PCHR’s researcher continues his story, saying:

    “On Thursday, June 28, 2001, at approximately 06:00 (local time), I arrived at the Egyptian side of the crossing coming from Cairo. I saw the same horrible scenes. I found hundreds of travelers, including patients, traders and students, waiting. Soon, I came to know that they had been waiting for two days under the heat of the sun, where they had lacked any healthy facilities, except for some scattered trees and a cafeteria. According to Egyptian security men, around 500 travelers were waiting at the interior hall to be allowed by Israeli occupation forces to cross the border.

    “At approximately 12:00 (local time), the number of travelers doubled. Among the travelers were a delegation of Palestinian judges, headed by Mahmoud Salameh, coming from Amman, member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Zakaria El-Agha, and some PNA officials. Salameh and El-Agha, in addition to the wife of deputy director of the Preventive Security Service were able to cross the border upon security coordination through head of the Palestinian-Egyptian Liaison, Hani El-Jobour.

    “Then, an Egyptian security official told the travelers that they would not be able to cross the border due to complicated procedures of the Israeli occupation forces. Consequently, they had to wait until the following day. The Egyptian official told the travelers that nets were to be set up for them. We were forced to travel back to Al-‘Arish in Egypt. On the following day, the crisis was still ongoing and the number of travelers increased. At approximately 15:00 (local time), I felt sick, so I traveled back to Cairo.

    “On Monday, July 2, 2001, I traveled to the border crossing again. I arrived at the gate of the crossing at 08:00 (local time), where I found hundreds of travelers still waiting. I decided to cross the border whatever the consequences were. At approximately 10:00 local time, I was able to enter the waiting hall at the Egyptian side of the border crossing. Then, I got on a bus, where I had to wait for two hours before I was able to cross to the Palestinian side of the crossing. I was informed that since Saturday, June 30, 2001, only 15 Palestinian officials, out of 75, had been allowed by the Israeli occupation authorities to work at the border crossing.”

    PCHR’s field officer in Rafah reported that the Israeli occupation authorities had continued to obstruct travel through the border crossing. Since Thursday, July 19, hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have been blocked at the Egyptian side of the border waiting to be allowed to come back to the strip.

    On Monday, July 22, Israeli occupation authorities closed the border crossing from 11:00 to 12:00. Four Israeli tanks took position in the vicinity of the crossing, claiming that a bomb was discovered. When the crossing was reopened, the Israeli occupation forces intercepted two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ibrahim Abu El-Naja and Ziad Abu ‘Amru when they were traveling back to the Gaza Strip. They attempted to force the two deputies to meet an Israeli intelligence officer, but the two deputies rejected this. They were allowed to cross the border after 14:00 local time.

  2. Continuation of Restrictions on Freedom of Movement

    The Israeli occupation forces have continued to close Salah El-Din Street (the main road between the north and south of the Gaza Strip) and all alternative roads. On June 2, Israeli occupation forces, positioned at military roadblocks on roads of the Gaza Strip, restricted movement of Palestinians. At Al-Matahen junction, north of Khan Yunis, the Israeli occupation forces divided the main road into two tracks, allowing movement of Palestinian cars on one track only. The Israeli occupation forces have continued to close the western road between Rafah and Khan Yunis and Palestinians have been allowed to travel through the eastern road only.

    Furthermore, Palestinian employees from the southern Gaza Strip complain of Israeli measures at military roadblocks which obstruct their travel to Gaza City. Traveling between Rafah and Gaza City takes more than two hours, so those employees arrive at their institutions very late. This has negative impacts on social, educational and medical services offered to citizens by these institutions.

    In this context, PCHR’s field officers in Rafah and Khan Yunis reported that Palestinians had to wait for hours at Israeli roadblocks to be allowed to travel back to their homes in Rafah and Khan Yunis.

    Continued Siege on Al-Mawasi Area in Rafah and Khan Yunis

    The Israeli occupation forces have continued to impose a strict siege on Al-Mawasi area since the beginning of October 2000. A few days ago, the Israeli occupation forces counted the population of the area and gave each person a private number. Those who were not present at the time of counting have been denied entry into the area.

    On Monday, July 16, Israeli occupation forces closed Al-Tuffah checking point between Khan Yunis and its Al-Mawasi area, denying access of Palestinians to their homes in the area. On the following day, the checking point was reopened.

    On Tuesday, July 10, Israeli occupation forces denied the passage of agricultural products through Al-Tuffah checkpoint. The checkpoint was reopened for the passage of agricultural products two days later.

    Furthermore, since February 14, Palestinian fishermen in the area have been denied access to the sea.

    A Strict Siege on Al-Syafa Area (the New Al-Mawasi)

    Since June 22, Israeli occupation forces have maintained a strict siege on a Palestinian residential area between “Dogit” and “Elli Sinai” settlements, north of Beit Lahia.

    Israeli occupation forces have maintained a total siege on the area, which is home to 27 families comprised of 160 people. On Tuesday, June 26 the Israeli occupation forces allowed the entry of representatives of the International Committee for the Red Cross into the area. PCHR was informed that residents of the area suffer a shortage of foodstuffs and diesel fuel, which is used in electricity generation, since the area lacks an electricity network and infrastructure. The residents of the area have also suffered from shortages of medicines and they have been denied access to medical centres.

    On Wednesday, June 27, Israeli occupation forces finished surrounding the area with sand barricades, approximately 2.5 high, above which barbed wires 0.5m high were placed. All entrances to the area where closed, isolating it from its surroundings. In the meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces established an electronic gate northwest of “Dogit” settlement, apparently to be the sole entrance to the area, in a way similar to procedures applied in Al-Mawasi area in Khan Yunis and Rafah. They also established observation towers near the two settlements.

    On July 8, residents of the area were allowed to move under strict procedures and for a limited period. Residents of the area are checked at the electronic gate. Cars are denied entry into the area and people have to move on feet.

    On July 9 and 10, a number of Palestinian farmers living outside the area were allowed access to their agricultural land in the area, but on the following day that access was prohibited.

    On July 13, around 30 Palestinian farmers living outside the area were allowed access to their agricultural land in the area from 07:00-09:00 local time. When they wanted to get out of the area in the afternoon, the Israeli forces fired at them, so they had to spend the night in the area.

    On July 16, Israeli forces closed the area completely, prohibiting any movement in and out.

    On July 17, people were allowed to move in and out in the morning, but movement was prohibited gain in the afternoon.

  3. Continued Prevention of Visitation of Palestinian Prisoners

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived of being visited by their families as a consequence of the total siege imposed on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This has a negative psychological effect on the prisoners that exacerbates the hard and inhuman conditions of detention.

On January 28, the ICRC reached an agreement with the Israeli occupation authorities according to which visitation of Palestinian prisoners would be permitted under the following conditions:

The Israeli authorities implemented the agreement for a very short period, but then they canceled it. Approximately 650 Palestinians have been arrested since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, increasing the total number of Palestinian prisoners to around 2,250, including 300 from the Gaza Strip.

Conclusion

The Israeli occupation forces have continued to impose a total siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Under the siege, the suffering of the Palestinian people continues. The Gaza Strip has been transformed into a series of jails. Living conditions in the OPT have deteriorated on all levels, and the economic, social and cultural rights of Palestinians have been violated.

The policy of collective punishment adopted by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people is internationally prohibited, and it contradicts internationally accepted human rights standards and international humanitarian law.

PCHR calls for a lifting of the total siege imposed on the occupied Palestinian territories and for an end to the policy of harsh restrictions adopted by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people.

The current situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is the most serious it has been since they were occupied by the Israeli occupation forces on June 5, 1967. PCHR calls for:

  1. Pressuring Israel to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and to stop its aggression against the Palestinian people and their property.

  2. Providing immediate medical and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people whose living conditions have been increasingly deteriorating under the siege.

  3. Activating mechanisms of immediate intervention by the UN and its agencies, and ICRC, to ensure the access of medical and food assistance to the occupied Palestinian territories under the siege.

  4. Obligating Israel to respect international conventions and to comply with the UN Resolutions, especially 242 and 338, which call for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967.

  5. Taking effective steps by the EU, under Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights.

  6. Prosecuting Israeli leaders for the war crimes they commit against the Palestinian people.

“End”

 

Annex (1)

A table that shows closures of crossings during Al-Aqsa Intifada

Crossing

Closure

Partial Reopening

Al-Mentar (Karni)

Closed on September 29, 2000

Re-closed on October 8, 2000

Re-closed on November 14, 2000

Re-closed on January 1, 2001

Re-closed in the morning of January 14, 2001

Re-closed on January 15, 2001

Re-closed on June 2, 2001

Reopened on October 2, 2000

Reopened on October 10, 2000

Reopened on November 19, 2000

Partially reopened January 7, 2001

Partially reopened in the evening of January 14, 2001

Partially reopened on January 17, 2001

Partially reopened on June 6, 2001

Sofa

Closed on October 8, 2000

Re-closed on January 18, 2001

Re-closed on February 15, 2001

Re-closed on June 2, 2001

Reopened on January 17, 2001

Reopened for laborers only on February 12, 2001

Reopened on March 16, 2001

Reopened for laborers on May 24, 2001

Beit Hanoun (Erez)

Closed on October 8, 2000

 

Re-closed on January 1, 2001

Re-closed on February 4, 2001

Re-closed on February 15, 2001

Re-closed on April 17, 2001

Completely re-closed on June 2, 2001

Partially reopened on December 14, 2000, allowing the entry of a limited number of Palestinian laborers

Partially reopened for laborers on January 22, 2001

Partially reopened for laborers on February 7, 2001

Partially reopened for laborers on March 27, 2001

Rafah Border Crossing

Closed on October 8, 2000

Re-closed on October 12, 2000

Re-closed on October 16, 2000

Re-closed on November 8, 2000

 

Re-closed on December 11, 2000, from 10:00 to 12:00 local time

Re-closed on December 18, 2000

Re-closed on December 30, 2000

Re-closed on January 14, 2001

Re-closed on January 24, 2001

Re-closed on January 31, 2001

Re-closed on February 5, 2001

Re-closed on March 18, 2001

Re-closed on April 25, 2001

Re-closed in the face of traders on May 27, 2001

Re-closed completely on June 2, 2001

Reopened on October 10, 2000, with reduced staff

Reopened on October 15, 2000

Reopened on October 19, 2000

Partially reopened on November 20, 2000, and was re-closed on the same day

Partially reopened on December 4, 2000

 

Reopened on December 19, 2000

Reopened on January 11, 2001

Reopened on January 17, 2001

Partially reopened on January 25, 2001

Reopened on February 1, 2001

Reopened only for pilgrims on February 13, 2001

Reopened for returnees on February 20, 2001

Partially reopened on March 24, 2001

Reopened on April 25, 2001

 

Gaza International Airport

Closed on October 8, 2000

Re-closed on October 29, 2000

Re-closed on November 8, 2000

Re-closed on January 1, 2001

Re-closed on January 15, 2001

Re-closed on January 31, 2001

Re-closed on February 5, 2001

Re-closed on February 14, 2001

Reopened on October 15, 2000

Reopened on November 6, 2000

Partially reopened on December 1, 2000

Partially reopened on January 12, 2001

Partially reopened on January 18, 2001

Reopened on February 1, 2001

Reopened only for pilgrims on February 13, 2001

 

 

 

“1) All people have the right of self determination. By virtue of this right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

“2) All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.”

Article 1, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1996)

“No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”

Article 17, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

“1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

“2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.”

Article 12, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)

“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”

Article 33, the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949)

“Each High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores and objects necessary for religious worship intended only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the latter is its adversary. It shall likewise permit the free passage of all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases.”

Article 23, the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949)

“1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of every one to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.”

Article 6, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

“1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

“2) The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include: …

d- the creation of conditions which could assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.”

Article 12, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

“1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Article 13, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)