15 million Palestinians enter Israel via crossing points in 2017: report

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-25 06:08:15|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- A total of 15 million Palestinians entered Israel in 2017 through crossing points, an increase of roughly 15 percent compared with 2016, report said Wednesday.

But the report, issued by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (MOD) Crossing Authority, did not make clear whether the increase came from Gaza or the West Bank.

On average, over 60,000 people per day entered Israel for work, medical treatment, humanitarian assistance or commerce, said the report.

The MOD Crossing Authority is responsible for operating the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossing points on the Israel-Gaza border as well as border crossings in Judea and Samaria.

However, a factsheet released last week by the NGO Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, said the number of exits by Palestinians via Erez Crossing in 2017 dropped by 51 percent compared to 2016.

The monthly average in 2017 was only 5,963 exits compared to a monthly average of 12,150 exits in 2016, and 14,276 exits in 2015.

In 2017, security inspectors at the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings thwarted hundreds of attempts to smuggle contraband materials into the Gaza Strip, according to the MOD report.

Among the key discoveries in 2017 were an attempt to smuggle explosive material from the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing, and the prevented transfer of several tons of dangerous material into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

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, said the report.

"The Crossing Authority at the Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with others, works day and night to combat the intensification of terror elements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank," said the Crossing Authority's Brigadier General Kamil Abu Rokun.