TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Israeli regime’s latest decision to close the Kerem Shalom crossing for exports from the Gaza Strip was strongly condemned by two Palestinian industrial institutions in the coastal enclave.
They described the move as a collective punishment that exacerbates the sufferings of the people in the besieged territory.
Waddah Bseiso, the spokesman for the General Federation of Palestinian Industries, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the Israeli decision will have negative repercussions and greatly affect Gaza’s economy, particularly the industrial sector, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.
The decision threatens the closure of hundreds of industrial facilities that heavily depend on export and will lead to laying off thousands of workers, he added, Press TV reported.
Bseiso further called on Israel to retract the decision, saying any actions that lead to the closing of the crossing are rejected by the industrial sector, which is to export standards and procedures.
Ayed Abu Ramadan, the head of the Union of Chamber of Commerce in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of the Coordination Council for Private Sector Institutions, also condemned the Israeli decision, stressing that the closure is an “unjustified escalation” in the 18-year-long Israeli blockade on the impoverished coastal territory.
He went on to say that the decision will leave adverse effects on Gaza’s economy as well as the livelihood of its people, adding that it will aggravate the already difficult economic situation there.
Ramadan also noted that the decision will negatively affect the industrial, agricultural and labor sectors, adding that it threatens to prevent many industrial and agricultural facilities from working, which will result in the loss of jobs for many workers, and increase the already high rates of unemployment and poverty in the besieged Gaza Strip.
He also denounced the closing of the crossing as “an unjust measure and collective punishment” for the more than two million people in the Gaza Strip, who are already suffering from exceptionally difficult conditions and will cause a real humanitarian catastrophe.
Ramadan further called for the urgent and immediate reopening of the crossing and lifting the sanctions that worsen the sufferings of the population and undermine opportunities for economic growth, peace and stability in the region.
On Monday, Israeli authorities ordered the closure of the crossing after an alleged attempt to smuggle explosives.
In a statement, Israeli military claimed that it had “detected several kilograms of high quality explosives, hidden within a clothing delivery carried by three trucks” at the Kerem Shalom crossing.
The halting of all “commercial deliveries from Gaza to Israel” is being carried out to allow “security adjustments to be made at the crossing”, the statement said.
“Deliveries will resume in accordance with subsequent situation assessments,” it added.
Palestinian border officials said they were told by Israel that the crossing would be closed “until further notice.”
Gaza has been under an Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007. The crippling siege has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the Gaza Strip.
In recent years, the Gaza Strip has been receiving its bare essentials through the Kerem Shalom crossing as well as two others, including one with Egypt, which is being strictly controlled by the government in Cairo.