In the morning hours of Wednesday, 26 March 2014, the Israeli authorities prevented the human rights defender, Samir Zaqout, from travelling via Erez crossing.
Zaqout, who is the Director of Monitoring and Awareness at Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, was on his way to attend a ceremony marking a signing agreement in support of human rights and non-governmental organizations.
The ceremony was organized by Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat for 11:00am to 3:00 pm on the same day in Jericho, West Bank.
On Tuesday, Zaqout received a phone call from the Secretariat informing him that his coordination had been approved by the Israeli security authorities to travel through Erez crossing.
At approximately 8:00 am on Wednesday, Zaqout went to Erez crossing and waited there until 10:30 am to be allowed to travel.
Several calls between the Palestinian Liaison Office and the Secretariat and the Israeli side were made to allow Zaqout to travel.
The Israeli side informed them that Zaqout had to be interviewed by the Israeli security forces first and that would need prior coordination and; therefore, would not be allowed to cross Erez.
The prevention of Zaqout’s travel is part of the continuous Israeli policy preventing movement and travel of human rights activists by Israel.
Most Palestinian human rights activists in Gaza are banned from travel via the Israeli crossing.
They are deprived from their rightful opportunities to participate in conferences, meetings, and other regional and international activities on human rights; even those conducted within the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
Erez crossing has become the only outlet for Palestinian students and patients in Gaza, whose medicine and treatments are not available in Gaza hospitals.
Palestinians in Gaza seeking travel via Erez crossing are also often subject to Israeli extortion and arrest.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the Israeli prevention of human rights activist from travel.
It asserts that the Israeli restrictions on freedom of movement and travel imposed on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Al Mezan also condemns the Israeli hindering of the necessary work of human rights defenders in the oPt, particularly in the Gaza Strip.