Dozens of Arab residents of Israel were barred from entering the Gaza Strip on Thursday while they were heading to visit their relatives for the Muslim Eid Al Fitir feast. Barring them contradicts with a pledge Israel made to the Israeli High Court of Justice.
Israeli state prosecution told the court that Israel would allow the Arab residents of Israel to visit close family members living in the Gaza strip.
The army, starting at 3 P.M on Thursday told the Israeli Arab residents who gathered at the Erez Crossing that men would not be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.
Eventually, the men were forced to remain at the crossing while their wives and children entered Gaza.
Arab member of Knesset Dr. Azmi Bishara phoned the office of the Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, and requested that the men should be allowed to join their families during the visits, but he received no answer to his request.
Bishara also contacted the Israeli army Coordinator of Government activities in the Palestinian territories, but the later claimed that this procedure “involves a security risk”.
Israel pledged that it would not prevent the Arab residents from entering Gaza with a security clearance.
The Center for the Defense of the Individual, Hamoked, received several calls before P.M, on Thursday, from dozens of Arabs residents complaining of long delays at the border crossing. Several women also fainted while waiting there.
The army completely closed the Rafah border crossing at 7 P.M but at least 20 men remained waiting for there families there.
“We are waiting here, instead of celebrating the feast with out families”, Ismail Arafat, a resident of Lod who has family in Gaza, “The army did not keeps its promise to allow us in”.
Arafat added that soldiers told the men waiting at the crossing that it would reopen it on Friday at 7 P.M, but they failed to specify whether the men would be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.