State of the Gaza Strip Border Crossings (01 – 28 February 2021)
During February, the Israeli authorities continued its illegal and inhuman 14-year closure on the Gaza Strip. The consequences of the closure are most evident in the Gaza Strip’s weathered humanitarian conditions, exhausted health system and fragile economic situation, which hampered the ability of the authorities in the Gaza Strip to combat the spread of Covid-19. Furthermore, the Israeli closure impacted the provision of basic services to at least 2 million Palestinians, who live in dire conditions in the most overpopulated area in the whole world.
The Gaza Strip economy has incurred heavy losses due to the 14-year long Israeli closure. Economic facilities have suffered from tight restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities on the entry of goods classified as “dual-use.” The dual-use items are essential to the life of the population; hence, the restrictions on their entry contribute to the deterioration of infrastructure and the deterioration of economic, health and education sectors.
Also, the Israeli closure caused a true humanitarian crisis and a catastrophic situation, as it is the direct cause of high unemployment, poverty and food insecurity rates, as the Gaza unemployment rate is 46% (i.e. 211,300 are unemployed), 63% of which is among youth. Also, the poverty rate reached 53%, and more than 62.2% of the Gaza population suffers from food insecurity according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
On the other hand, on 09 February 2021, the Egyptian authorities re-opened Rafah Border Crossing for the travel of humanitarian cases, including students, patients, holders of permanent residencies, daily (except for the weekends and holidays) and until further notice for the first time in years as thousands of Palestinians could travel from and to the Gaza Strip in February. This coincided with Cairo’s hosting the talks and meetings of 15 Palestinian factions on the arrangements for holding the presidential and parliamentary elections in Palestine. In February.
 Israeli authorities claim that these items, although used for civilian purposes, could be used to develop the combat capabilities of the Palestinian armed groups.