Israeli authorities have been reportedly detained six Palestinians from Gaza since early 2020. Those arrested are said to be travelers, who were passing through the Israel-controlled Erez checkpoint, north of the Gaza Strip.

According to a statement, released on Friday by the Ramallah-based Palestine Center for Detainee Studies, the sixth Gaza traveler is a trader, who was held in custody by Israeli authorities, after he passed into Israel earlier on Friday.

The statement read that the trader is called Ammar Jundiya, 38, and resident of the Shija’iya neighborhood, east of Gaza city. Jundiya was crossing through Erez, en-route to the Palestinian West Bank, when Israeli security personnel detained him, the statement noted.

Between January and February of this year, Israeli security personnel have arrested three other Gaza-based traders, while they were en-route to Jordan, via the same Erez crossing. Two other residents from southern Gaza were detained when they applied for permits for movement, right at the crossing itself.

The Palestine Center for Detainee Studies said that Israeli authorities use the crossings, under Israel’s control, as a means to extort Gaza residents by trying to coerce them to act as collaborators and informants for the Israeli military, in return for  meeting their various needs, such as movement, working, trading or even medication.

Over the past 13 years of a crippling Israeli blockade on Gaza, Israel has imposed widespread restrictions on movement of Palestinian Gaza-based residents and goods, under alleged security reasons.

The Erez crossing is considered to be a main outlet for the residents of Gaza, in and out of the coastal enclave. According to international law, Israel remains an occupying power that should be responsible for the welfare of the occupied Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.