Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The Erez crossing to northern Gaza is one of the terminals closed off by Israel. (Photo: Zero0000/WIkimedia/cc)

The Erez crossing to northern Gaza is one of theborder crossings now closed off by Israel. (Photo: Zero0000/WIkimedia/cc)

Gaza Cut Off From All Sides As 'Collective Punishment' Deepens

Israel and Egypt close border crossings as Gaza struggles to rebuild from Israeli onslaught

Sarah Lazare

Despite widespread calls for increased humanitarian aid and economic activity, the approximately 1.8 million people living in the Gaza Strip have been further isolated from the outside world following Israel's closure Sunday, and Egypt's closure last week, of border crossings into the Palestinian territory.

The Israeli Defense Ministry stated Sunday it has closed its Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings to Gaza in response to a single rocket fire from Gaza, which resulted in no injuries, deaths, or damages. Gisha, a legal center that advocates for Palestinian freedom of movement, reported Monday that both passages remained closed for a second day, save for extremely limited transport of fuel in and medical patients.

The U.S.-backed Egyptian government last week shut the Rafah crossing into Gaza and commenced destroying Egyptian nearby homes to create a so-called "buffer zone" along the border.

Palestinian rights campaigners warn that the closures are especially dangerous as traumatized and displaced Gaza residents struggle to rebuild from Israel’s recent seven-week military assault in which 2,000 Palestinians—at least 75 percent of them civilians—were killed.

"As winter approaches, and in the wake of the recent military operation, civilians in Gaza are increasingly vulnerable. Israel, like dozens of donor countries, has recognized the obligation to allow Gaza’s urgent reconstruction," the statement from Gisha continued. "Unfortunately, this latest act of closure as a response to rocket or mortar fire can be interpreted as collective punishment and represents a disturbing and dangerous regression to a policy that has harmed hundreds of thousands of civilians and also proven ineffective."

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reports that 18 of the school building they administer in the Gaza Strip are currently serving approximately 32,419 internally displaced Palestinians. "The critical immediate priority in Gaza remains the reconstruction of people’s homes," writes the agency.

Meanwhile, Defence for Children International-Palestine reports that Gaza residents are scrambling to assemble classrooms following the mid-September start to the school year. At least 26 schools were destroyed in the offensive, 228 were damaged, and another 31 schools continue to serve as shelters for displaced people.

"I think it's shameful that Israel continues to its now seven-year siege on the people of Gaza, following the deadly war and all the destruction created through the war—of houses, factories, and schools," Ramah Kudaimi of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation told Common Dreams. "This is in an additional amount of suffering placed on people in Gaza."

"This means they are not able to get materials to rebuild homes, and they are having to deal with shortages in food, medicine, electricity, and clean water," Kudaimi continued. "In the past seven years, Israel has conducted a massive bombing campaign against Gaza at least three times. People are not being given the opportunity to rebuild their lives."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

UN Chief Warns Humanity Is 'Unacceptably Close to Nuclear Annihilation'

"Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good," United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said ahead of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Jake Johnson ·


Coalition Slams UN Food Summit for Peddling 'Corporate-Led False Solutions' to Hunger

"The U.N. has finally made it clear what 'multilateralism' is all about—paying lip service to the people while skewing priorities for the interests of imperialists and monopoly capitalists."

Jake Johnson ·


'Political Malpractice': House Democrats' Bill Wouldn't Add Dental to Medicare Until 2028

"I don't want to see it drawn out to as far as the House has proposed," Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a recent press call.

Jake Johnson ·


'How Many More Deaths Must It Take?' Barbados Leader Rips Rich Nations in Fierce UN Speech

"How many more variants of Covid-19 must arrive, how many more, before a worldwide plan for vaccinations will be implemented?"

Jake Johnson ·


To Avert Debt Ceiling Calamity, Democrats Urged to Finally Kill the Filibuster

"The solution is to blow up the filibuster at least for debt limit votes, just as Mitch blew it up to pack the Supreme Court for his big donors."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo