According to the monitoring and documentation of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, at around 11pm on Sunday, 22 September 2019, the Israeli authorities at Erez crossing arrested the merchant, Bassam Mahmoud Youssif Ghourab. Bassam is 41 and a resident of Al Twam neighborhood in the North Gaza district. Following his application for a travel permit, Ghourab was asked to present himself at Erez crossing for an interview with the Israeli security service. He was arrested during the interview.
Earlier this month, Israeli authorities arrested two merchants at Erez, identified as: Youssif Hassam, 30, resident of Al Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza, and Fadel Al Deiri, 39, resident of Al Sabra neighborhood in Gaza.
Pursuant to Al Mezan’s documentation, since 2019 and until the publishing of this press release, Israeli forces have arrested seven Palestinians at Erez crossing: five merchants, one patient’s companion and one traveler.
Al Mezan expresses concern by the Israeli authorities’ detention of Palestinians at the only crossing point allowed to them and by the seemingly arbitrary nature of their detention. Patients and merchants appear at Erez crossing only when they are granted a permit by Israeli authorities, or when they are summoned for interviews during the security checks that are part of the application for a permit. Al Mezan condemns the use of the to summons an individual, under the pretense of an interview, in order to arrest them. Al Mezan has received reports of attempted blackmail and exploitation of the applicants’ humanitarian needs during the interviews, where individuals seeking permits are requested to provide information about their family members, friends or neighbors in exchange of granting them permits. This pracrice is indignifying, but also puts those individuals at risk.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to ensure the respect of international law and to exert pressure on the Israeli authorities to lift the closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel, the occupying power, must respect the right to freedom of movement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and stop the practice of arbitrary arrests.