2017 Annual Summary For The Ministry Of Defense Crossing Authority

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The Ministry of Defense (MOD) Crossing Authority, responsible for operating the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossing points on the Israel-Gaza border as well as border crossings in Yehuda and Shomron, has completed another record year. In 2017, 15 million Palestinians entered Israel through MOD crossing points, compared to 13 million in 2016 (marking an increase of roughly 15%). On average, over 60,000 people per day entered Israel for work, medical treatment, humanitarian assistance or commerce.

Kerem Shalom Crossing:

The movement of Israeli goods that entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing was consistent with the year before, reaching roughly 160,000 trucks. The peak of the year was reached in April when more than 1,000 trucks of goods passed through on one day of activity.

Combatting Smuggling:

In 2017, security inspectors at the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings thwarted hundreds of attempts to smuggle contraband materials into Gaza. Among the key discoveries this year were an attempt to smuggle explosive material from Gaza through the Erez Crossing, and the prevented transfer of several tons of dangerous into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Security officials also prevented the smuggling of laser sights and other tactical optics, military uniforms, military boots hidden inside slippers, iron and aluminum rods, professional wet suits and diving equipment en route to Hamas naval commandos, and valuable archaeological artifacts. Many of these items were purchased through popular websites such as Ali Express, and sent via traditional postal routes.

The Ministry of Defense Crossings Authority and the Shin Bet (ISA/Israeli Security Agency), together with COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), Israeli Police and Israel Tax Authority, continued in their mission to prevent further such smuggling attempts through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza. In this regard, it is important to note the tireless efforts of Kerem Shalom’s chemical testing lab to inspect suspected dual-use materials that could be used by Hamas’s terror network within Gaza.

During 2017, construction of a dedicated conveyor belt for transporting bulk materials at the Kerem Shalom crossing was completed at the cost of millions of shekels. Additionally, the Crossing Authority together with COGAT advanced the upgrading of infrastructure of the Shar Ephraim and Gilboa Crossings as part of improvements for the crossings in Yehuda and Shomron. In May 2017, the Te’enim Crossing was transferred from IDF to MOD civilian control.

“The Crossing Authority at the Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with others, works day and night to combat the intensification of terror elements in Gaza and the West Bank,” said the Crossing Authority’s Brigadier-General (res.) Kamil Abu Rokun. “At the same time, the Crossing Authority is working to maintain high service and security norms at the crossings in Yehuda and Shomron in order to help stabilize the civilian security situation in the West Bank”, he added.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)