The Israeli authorities at Erez crossing arbitrarily arrested two Palestinian merchants in separate incidents on Monday, 23 August 2021. Arbitrary arrests are not uncommon of tradespeople, patients and their escorting companions, and even NGO staff who are either granted permits or called for security interviews, and form part of Israel’s unlawful closure practices.
According to Al Mezan’s field reporting, the first merchant was 30-year-old Husni Muhsen Al-Sharafi who works for Al-Sharafi Company for Transport and General Trading. A testimony by his brother, who was informed of the arrest through a phone call from the Israeli intelligence services, indicates that Al-Sharafi was arrested when he arrived for a security interview at the crossing early Monday morning. The Israeli authorities routinely make interrogation-style interviews a precondition for an exit permit.
In a separate incident in similar circumstances, Amjad Ahmed Dardouna, a 42-year-old merchant, was arrested at Erez crossing, despite having been granted a travel permit as a merchant. Dardouna’s brother told Al Mezan that he was informed of the arrest through a phone call at around 7pm on Monday.
The documentation collected by Al Mezan since the beginning of the year shows that the Israeli authorities at Erez arbitrarily arrested two Palestinian merchants and two patient companions on their way out of Gaza.
Al Mezan reiterates its strongest condemnation of Israel’s closure policies, notably its systematic use of crossings as a means of entrapment, arbitrary arrest and attempted coercion of Palestinians in flagrant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Such unlawful practices must prompt effective international intervention to pressure Israel to immediately lift its closure of Gaza, while ensuring the full and unconditional enjoyment of the right to freedom of movement for Palestinians. To this end, Israel’s policy of arbitrary detention must cease.