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IDF bans laptops, food, toiletries for Palestinians leaving Gaza

Palestinians are no longer allowed to bring sandwiches with them when exiting the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians cross into Gaza at the Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza on September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Palestinians cross into Gaza at the Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza on September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israeli military has instituted a travel ban on food, toiletries and most electronic devices for Palestinians exiting the Gaza Strip.

The army sent the new directive to Gisha, an Israeli NGO that promotes freedom of movement for Palestinians, a day before it went into effect earlier this month.

The directive was not, however, published in the “Status of Closure Authorizations,” a document meant to inform Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank about restrictions on movement.

Not even USB drives

Even Palestinians traveling abroad, who must take a bus directly from the Gaza border — through Israel — to Jordan, are subject to the new restrictions.

Palestinians in Gaza are no longer allowed to bring their laptops, toiletries or hard-sided luggage when exiting Gaza through the only regularly active passenger border terminal, Israel’s Erez crossing. Even Palestinians traveling to conferences, for business, or for studies abroad are not allowed to bring laptop computers.

Palestinians walk past a gasoline-powered generator in the old market of Gaza City, Gaza Strip, June 9, 2017. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinians walk past a gasoline-powered generator in the old market of Gaza City, Gaza Strip, June 9, 2017. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

“Every Tuesday there is an organized ride from Erez Crossing for those who want to travel abroad, which takes them directly to Allenby Bridge so that they can go on to Jordan. Most of [the passengers] are students, especially at this time of the year,” said Gisha’s Intake Coordinator Shadi Butthish. “These are people who are traveling to get graduate degrees because Israeli policy does not allow Palestinian undergraduate students to travel.”

“Naturally, they would need to take laptops and tablets with them on their travels,” Butthish continued. “Even USBs will need to remain behind in the Strip. People who are flying abroad for a few years won’t be able to bring their electric shavers.”

Non-Palestinians are exempt from the new restrictions, as long as they declare any electronic devices included in their luggage.

Israel has held Gaza under a strict blockade since 2007, after Hamas won an election in the Strip and took over the enclave. Since then, it has restricted basic goods from entering Gaza, and has significantly limited the number of people who can enter and exit the Strip — effectively cutting it off from the rest of the world. After the 2014 Gaza war, Israel pledged to join international efforts to rehabilitate Gaza, saying it would ease the passage of goods and people to and from the Strip.

The Israeli army sent the following response:

“The entry into or passage through Israel is not a natural right. Unfortunately, we have seen repeated and varying attempts by the Hamas terror organization to exploit the population for purposes of terrorism against Israel. Accordingly, following a collaborative effort by all of the security authorities, including the [IDF’s] Land Crossings Authority, it was decided to update the security regulations at the Erez Crossing. The changed regulations apply to [Gaza] residents when they enter Israel from the Gaza Strip. The regulations are changed according to the various populations and the purpose of the permit in their possession.”

This post was originally published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

      • Ben

        Yeah, the felafel sandwich bomb is a known threat. Whooeeh that Israeli Military Intelligence is one impressive outfit. They’re almost as good at guarding us against sandwiches as they are at spying on citizens and shutting down free speech.

        Reply to Comment
        • Fred Skolnik

          Dear Ben, you can be a hero with your own children, not mine. Show us what you had to say when barbaric Arab terrorists were blowing up Israeli women and children in buses and restaurants.

          As for Ms. Noy’s ideas about the blockade, it was instituted in 2007 after Hamas had fired around 6,000 rockets at Israeli population centers in the previous 6 years. The sole purpose of the blockade is to prevent war materials from reaching Hamas, as the UN Palmer Report noted. All other cargo may enter Gaza via the border crossings after being inspected at Ashdod. Not surprisingly, Hamas has never fully utilized the border crossings, not even 50% of their capacity, because it makes more money on kickbacks from the smugglers using the Egyptian tunnels.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I stand by what I said. Just as with the sandwiches and laptops, nothing about the Gaza blockade or the separation wall has a sole purpose of security. Does Israel ever do anything honest when it comes to its occupations? My impression is that you folks never want to be heroes with your own children but you think it just fine to goad the USA into being heroes on your behalf with their own children. (And the lives of children of the Palestinians? Let’s not be silly, right? Who cares?)

            Reply to Comment
          • Fred Skolnik

            Then tell us what you said when barbaric Arab terrorists were blowing up Israeli women and children in buses and restaurants. “Reference” us. Show us the quote.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​I do not need to produce “quotes” for your little impromptu prosecution here, Fred. I am not on trial and neither are you my judge. I thought then and think now that the suicide bombings were a terrible mistake, strategically and morally. I think the Palestinians were neither smart nor good to have gone down that awful road. At the same time I note that Israel devotes its greatest efforts to especially efficiently and swiftly shutting down all non-violent Palestinian protest, and reserves its greatest loathing and vituperation for non-violent, peace seeking Palestinian leaders, and makes sure to either imprison or kill, swiftly, any Palestinian who shows threatening signs of competent non-violent leadership. All this too is a form of “terror.” And having it both ways.
            As Noam Sheizaf has made clear, Israelis in fact appear to only listen to violence:
            https://972mag.com/why-do-we-only-listen-to-violence/117773/

            Reply to Comment
          • Fred Skolnik

            Since you have never witnessed what you call a nonviolent protest and therefore have no idea how violent these nonviolent protests really are, your opinion about them is meaningless. Quoting sources that you are unequipped to evaluate or verify is also meaningless. Israel’s only concern in dealing with these demonstrations is to protect its own population against acts of violence.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​In fact you have no earthly idea what protests I’ve witnessed. But we now know that your witnessing experience is severely lacking since you apparently have no idea how Israeli forces routinely, violently shut down non-violent protests in West Bank villages and in which the safety of Israelis is not at all the issue, or deliberately provoke them into turning violent in order to do the only thing Israel knows how to do–be violent. You apparently haven’t bothered to learn of the Israeli undercover agents who circulate in crowds and egg on Palestinian youths to throw stones and then turn around and arrest them. You apparently never saw the videos that document this happening and the video of the thuggish undercover agent then shooting an arrested protester point blank in the thigh. Just because he can. Nor have you witnessed the marauding settler “youths” who beat up and stone Palestinian farmers and shepherds while Israeli army soldiers stand by and watch and either do nothing or protect the youths when the Palestinians try to fight back. How is it that you missed all this? Where have you been? Ye who talk blithely about my being “unequipped” to “evaluate” what can be seen by anyone with eyes to see and who does not look the other way.

            “Israel’s only concern in dealing with these demonstrations is to protect its own population against acts of violence.”

            Transparently false. You sound like an Israeli army spokesman reciting talking points. If you really believe what you just said here then you have no business lecturing anyone here on who is “equipped.” You have no useful understanding of the occupation and the routine tactics Israel uses to maintain it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Fred Skolnik

            All the carefully edited videos in the world are not going to tell you what goes on in the Arab riots on the West Bank. What do your friends call what you are doing – cherry picking? Ten or twenty or a hundred incidents involving individuals in a 50-year war against brutal Arab terrorism and rioting mobs makes the Israelis look like angels. Keep sititng in front of the telly and pontificating about a country you’ve never seen where people you don’t know speak languages you don’t understand. You might as well try it on China too.

            Still glutting yourself on wine and cheese? Still faking it? Here’s the list again so that you can wean yourself and start shutting down the systems:

            https://www.facebook.com/notes/jesus-love-is-so-great/so-you-want-to-boycott-israel-heres-a-list-of-products-and-services-you-need-to-/820698877940154/

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​I have been to Israel and I have been to the West Bank, Fred. I have seen the country and the peoples and spent considerable time there. I have Israeli friends who are on the ground and have deep knowledge of what goes on and I talk to them often. And here’s the thing Fred: You’re trying to make this about me but it’s not about me, or you. You don’t need me to have lived for years inside the West Bank or Israel. But the writers of +972 Magazine have done that, Fred. They are Israelis with hard won on-the-ground knowledge, from long, lived experience. And they are reporting with utmost sobriety and integrity. And an impeccable, unstinting focus on human rights irrespective of race, creed or ethnicity.

            And I think that’s the glaring thing you are ignoring and that you cannot stand—that they are breaking the silence. Along with people like Amira Hass and Gideon Levy and the soldiers of Breaking the Silence. All these people have unimpeachable authority and integrity. That forces you to resort to cheap Trump-like tactics of calling me, and by extension them, “fake,” and to resort to dumbed down Jerusalem Post talkback level tactics like this cheesy list of products and ad hominem attacks. Nothing but a distraction.

            Please tell us, Fred, what storehouse of authentic lived experience gives you the right to imply that the +972 writers don’t know what they are talking about. Do you even read this publication? What it seems to me gets under your skin is that this magazine is spilling the beans, telling people what is really going on, and it is telling it in English, not just Hebrew. Because what Noam Sheizaf discovered is that they have to go outside, to an international audience, because Israelis themselves have refused to listen and have shown that by themselves they can’t change things and can’t be trusted to do anything but maintain an unjust ‘status quo’ and creeping annexation for another fifty years.

            “Cherry picking”? I could just as easily tell you you’re cherry picking when you point to suicide bombings. But then I’d have to show the same contempt towards Israeli Jews that you show towards Arab Palestinians.

            Reply to Comment
          • Fred Skolnik

            In a word, I have lived in Israel for over fifty years, served in the Israeli army on active reserve duty for 20 years,, mostly on the West Bank, and along with a great many other Israelis of unimpeachable authority and integrity do not perceive what is going on there in the sames way as your authorities, whose assertions you are in any case totally unequipped to evaluate or verify and uncritically accept for no other reason than that they give you what you want to hear. In any case your judgment that their authority and integrity is unimpeachable is gratuitous and has no factual or empirical foundation. They approach the conflict with a far-left political bias in which Israel’s total culpability serves as a given in their polemical writings. Here, for example, is what was uncovered in a fair investigation of the “testimony” gathered by Breaking the Silence:

            http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/breaking-the-silences-myths-busted/

            Israel responds to riots, violent or threatening demonstrations and terrorist acts in an entirely legitimate way, using force when it is required. That is the rule. My experience is that the rule is broken very rarely by individual soldiers. As for the conflict as such, if the Palestinians want a state they will have to disavow terrorism, not by deceiving people like yourself who know absolutely nothing about the Middle East and hoping that if they sit back and murder a few Jews occasionally, people like you will do the rest, but by convincing people who understand exactly what their intentions are. When they do, they’ll get their state within reasonable parameters that are clear to all rational people.

            And by the way, as to my “contempt” for Palestinian Arabs, I can assure you that I have more human contact with them in a month than you will have in a lifetime. It is I who see them as human beings and you who see tham as an abstraction with which to whip Israel. It is not the Palestinians as victims that really interests people like yourself, but Israel as the culprit.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            This is good, Fred. It shows us your vantage point and what you regard as credible evidence. Your assessment of this piece by Matan Katzman as evidence shows us just how far we can trust your account of what you do on reserve duty in the territories. Katzman is a paid propagandist. He works for the right-wing Stand With Us, which masquerades as “pro-Israel” while its real agenda for which it is paid, is to serve the current government, and it has set up ‘My Truth’ as a front group to smear Breaking the Silence. My Truth’s mission is to smear Breaking the Silence. Katzman’s group is a government-funded mouthpiece. For a unit commander to deny what his own troops are saying and say “oh we never would put a family in a bathroom” is laughable as credible “refutation.”

            There’s nothing like true authority. Why don’t you actually listen to Yehuda Shaul? Go on, listen to the whole thing and tell me where Yehuda is misrepresenting things. Be specific:

            Yehuda Shaul – Breaking the Silence – Seattle, Nov 14, 2013
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxHE4KrLvj0

            Just for you to say that “My experience is that the rule is broken very rarely by individual soldiers” indicates to me that you know surprisingly little about what really goes on in the territories or that you have a striking filter about the information you take in that you deem important, and I suspect, Fred, that if you ever saw Jews treated the way your army and the settlers routinely, day after day, treat Palestinians you would find it an outrage and would need no one to explain it to you or “evaluate” it. I suspect that for the past 20 years you’ve worn a pair of glasses with interesting ethnic-ideological filters when you go about your reserve duties. You don’t see Palestinians as “abstractions”? You see then as “human beings”? It’s worth asking whether you in fact see them as untermenschen.

            I talk to Israelis who know many people like you. You are not telling us anything. What you are not going to get away with, however, is telling people like me that we don’t know what’s really going on or have no basis to “evaluate” (now there’s an excusing, cloaking, distancing word if I ever heard one) or that no one has any right to speak up if they don’t live inside Israel. For too long Israelis have lorded it over and silenced others that way. Nothing doing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​“If the Palestinians want a state they will have to disavow terrorism”

            But in fact,
            “Why do we only listen to violence?”
            https://972mag.com/why-do-we-only-listen-to-violence/117773/

            “They’ll get their state within reasonable parameters”

            We could unpack every word of that sentence for its arrogance and duplicity. Let me ask you Fred, do the Israelis ever tell the Palestinians or anybody in the rest of the world “exactly what their intentions are”? Ever? Don’t make us laugh.

            Reply to Comment
          • Fred Skolnik

            Of course they have: a fair trade-off of land leaving 75% of the settlements within Israel’s final border and involving around 5% of West Bank land – barren hilltops exchanged for barren hilltops from the Palestinian point of view – a limited return of refugees (something like 30-40,000, which coincidentally represents the number of original refugees still alive, but maybe as many as 100,000), and some imaginative solution for Jerusalem. These are the parameters and this is the reality. It’s up to the Palestinians to decide whether they wish to live in dignity or in misery. Your cursing Israel and spending countless hours feverishly scouring the Internet to get some dirt on Israel is not going to get them anything, nor is it healthy or normal by the way. What exactly is wrong with you? and how exactly did you become a hater? Do you hate other people as well? Maybe the Sudanese or the Rwandans with those genocides over there? Were you screaming and cursing then too? No? Don’t give a crap about them? I understand.

            Reply to Comment
          • fred Skolnik

            As I’ve replied to everything more than once and you are starting to get a little hysterical, I’ll be signing off now, Ben. I realize that this is the only outlet for your malice and venom, but I have other things to do. Good luck.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            My translation of your amusing messages, Fred Skolnik:

            “Now that I am confronted with an IDF soldier whose authenticity and articulateness I can’t refute and against whom I can’t employ my stock phrase, “unqualified to evaluate,” and who has actually served where I have served and is not maintaining the silence—bummer—and now that I am confronted with a compelling analysis of how Israelis have only truly listened to violence and which I can’t refute with my stock victimology memes, I’ll just call it all ‘hysterical’ (after all, they’re just Arabs, they’re not Jews, why get excited?) and throw in a little fiction about Israeli intentions, and for the final seasoning add a dash of stock ad hominem anti-Semitizing about “haters” which is always good for something, and slip out the back quietly.”

            All of it is a stock evasion. Off the shelf. And then you make yourself scarce. We understand. Nice meeting you. A most instructive encounter. About you. But we’ve seen it all before.

            Reply to Comment
    1. Bruce Gould

      Of course Israel could just inspect the laptops like they do in airports all over the world….

      Interested readers might want to go to the Carter Center for Human Rights, click on Israel and then “other issues of interest”: With President Carter urging Hamas to accept a truce limited to Gaza (as opposed to covering both the West Bank and Gaza), Hamas and Israel — under Egyptian auspices — agreed to a six-month cease-fire in June 2008. Though the exact terms are disputed, the basic agreement was that Hamas would cease attacks against Israel if Israel would stop attacks against Gaza and open Gaza’s borders. The Carter Center’s analysis (PDF) has demonstrated that, while this led to a 97 percent reduction in attacks against Israel and Israeli attacks against Gaza, the amount of goods coming into Gaza was only 27 percent of normal levels.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Nazir Ahmed

      When will this oppression end.
      As for 6000 rockets- which one reached or killed even one illegal settler. God can never give a land to oppressors. This is a lie!

      Reply to Comment
      • Lewis from Afula

        I fully agree with you.
        G-d never gave the land to the PLO criminals and Hamas Jihadis.

        Reply to Comment

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