At 20:30 on Sunday, 5 November 2017, Khaldon Abdul Qader Abu Salim, 36-year-old resident of Al Rimal neighborhood in western Gaza City, was arrested by Israeli authorities at the crossing. The public relations and marketing director at Bank of Palestine had gone to Erez at 8am that morning for a second security interview—his first interview being one week prior. The two interviews were a requirement by Israeli authorities in order for Abu Salim to obtain a permit to cross to the West Bank. Abu Salim was not given a reason for his arrest, which took place shortly after his arrival at the crossing at the required time. In the evening, the Israeli authorities notified the Palestinian military liaison office of Abu Salim’s detention.
Conditioning the processing of a permit request with the attendance of a personal interview with the Israeli security services has become a common practice for the Israeli permit application. The interview then results in either approval of the permit request, rejection, or as has recently been common, detention. According to Al Mezan’s monitoring and documentation, since 1 January 2017, the Israeli authorities at Erez have detained 17 Palestinians, including six patients and patient companions, four traders, and seven individuals crossing to the West Bank before transiting to Jordan.
Al Mezan condemns Israel’s use of the crossing to systematically violate Palestinians’ rights, including to freedom of movement, and liberty and security of person. With these violations impacting access to healthcare, education, employment and family life, Israel’s practices at Erez crossing infringe on Palestinians’ attainment of other basic rights.
Al Mezan calls for the release of Abu Salim and for the full and permanent cessation of all undue movement restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities on Palestinians, including those that entail arbitrary arrest and detention.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to lead an urgent and effective intervention to stop the violation of Palestinians’ rights, crucially by lifting the closure/blockade in order to ensure freedom of movement.