Sarah Ali Profile picture
Dec 21 32 tweets 6 min read Read on X
A thread on Erez Crossing, one of the most violent, dehumanising, racist, & exploitative tools of the Israeli occupation, meant to imprison Palestinians with a Gaza ID into a concentration camp, make money off Palestinians, recruit informers, & manufacture Israeli propaganda.🧵
Erez is a crossing between the farthest point in north Gaza & the Israeli settler-colony. Since the 2nd intifada of 2000, israel restricted the movement of Palestinians with Gaza IDs into "israel" & the West Bank. The Israeli-Egyptian blockade of 2007 tightened these restrictions
So, in "normal" times, the vast majority of Palestinians with Gaza IDs (2.3 million people) are not allowed to travel through Erez, & can only leave Gaza through the Rafah border with Egypt. A long, difficult, systematically humiliating process.
Who, then, is allowed to travel through Erez of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza? A very small number of categories that israel defines & controls. i'll mention 3 categories: international organisations staff, Palestinian patients, & Palestinian traders.
a typical zionist line is that benevolent israel treats Palestinian patients from Gaza. First, Palestinians in Gaza don't have israeli medical insurance (although we all have israel-issued IDs) & aren't treated for free. The PA (our corrupt, puppet regime in the West Bank) pays
for the treatment, not israel. Approval rates for "patient permits" compared to number of referrals from Gaza hospitals are a farce & continued to decrease in the recent years. Hundreds of Palestinian cancer patients who need urgent surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy die
while waiting for israeli permits that are delayed or denied. One of these people is my aunt, who died in Gaza waiting for her fourth "permit" for a chemotherapy session in East Jerusalem, which was delayed six months. 2 doctors in Gaza said she could have lived at least a year
longer had she received proper treatment earlier, without all the "patient permit" delays. Keep in mind that israel bombed the only cancer treatment facility in Gaza (the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital) in its current genocidal aggression.
israeli authorities in Erez routinely try to recruit informers from the Palestinian patients & their companions, asking questions about resistance training sites, rocket launching & Hamas leaders locations. companions are interrogated; patients are kept waiting for hours to cross
Another category is traders & businessmen from Gaza, who are allowed to cross into occupied Palestine through Erez, essentially so they could make business for israel & buy israeli goods (usually transferred through the israel-controlled Karm Abu Salem commercial crossing).
Israel makes money & benefits materially from the blockade it imposes with Egypt on Gaza. Gaza markets are normally flooded with israeli goods, & while a lot of people do boycott, BDS is difficult to follow in Gaza. Because of the siege & all the essential materials israel bans
from entering Gaza, Turkish, Egyptian, & Chinese alternatives are not always available. So while being occupied, besieged, starved, & periodically bombed by israel, Palestinians in Gaza can sometimes only buy israeli milk & israeli yogurt & israeli shampoo.
What about students? Vast majority of Palestinian students from Gaza pursuing college/higher degrees abroad aren't allowed to leave via Erez. The very few students who are allowed only get "exit permits" through the American/British Consulates, to study in the US or UK.
So basically israel's strongest allies help it run its "security checks" on Palestinian students & academics before they step out of Gaza. If a Palestinian student applies to leave via Erez independently (without US/UK mediation), there's 0 chance israel would allow them to leave
In 2016, I was coming back from the UK after my master's. I had been stuck in the UK for an additional 3 months because Rafah Border (through which I had left Gaza) was only open for 30-35 days across the entire year (2015). I was going to overstay my student visa, so eventually
the British Consulate in Jerusalem coordinated an israeli "entrance permit" for me to go home via Erez. This is notoriously the worst scenario (leaving Gaza via Rafah & entering via Erez). As soon as the Consulate driver left, I was held & interrogated for 10 hours in Erez
I wasn't allowed to go to the bathroom, I had a suitcase full of books that they confiscated, & all the while an israeli soldier had his gun pointed towards me across the room. The officer kept yelling at me in Hebrew. When I responded in broken Hebrew that I needed someone who
speaks Arabic or English, she exploded in racist swearing. Egyptian & Israeli authorities share intel, but she kept saying her computer says I should be in Gaza. I explained repeatedly that I had left through Rafah. She kept asking if I had left through the tunnels & if I had
been staying "illegally" in "israel". Some of the racial abuse I blocked out for years, but I'll never forget they humiliated me just because they wanted to & because they could. For hours & hours, my family were waiting outside the Palestinian side in Beit Hanoun to pick me up.
In 2018, I visited the West Bank for the first time in my life. An American organisation in Gaza had coordinated "exit permits" for 22 Palestinian teachers to attend a training course in Ramallah. Imagine this: we were a group of *Palestinian* teachers, who lived all our lives in
in Gaza, asking the Americans to ask the Israelis to let us go to *Ramallah*, not even Safad or Haifa. In Erez, if you're a foreign national working for an international organisation, you can take anything out with you. If you're a Palestinian leaving Gaza, you can't take laptops
tablets, wheel suitcases, zaatar, coffee, oil, etc. All for "security" reasons, except it's not an airport. It's an israeli military checkpoint where anti-Palestinian racism is the procedure. Can't take your laptop even if you're a student, even in a big suitcase to be checked.
Most of us knew the "rules" & didn't bring any electronics. But there were Palestinian teachers asking white foreigners in the other queue to take our laptops with them. 2 laptops were not allowed to cross (stolen & never given back). The rest of us just went to a training course
with our phones & notebooks. I remember one of my colleagues crying hysterically at the humiliation, at the racism of it all. If any of us objected, israeli authorities would have simply sent the entire group back to Gaza & apologised to Americans.
I travelled through Erez 4 times. Every "permit" came through the American or the British. Every application I made as a Palestinian for an "exit permit" through Erez was rejected by Israeli authorities. Every. Single. One.
About 10 years ago, I wrote (a very immature piece) about one of the rejections I received for an "exit permit" application. This was for a 'Gaza Writes Back' book tour with Refaat Alareer & 2 other friends. I couldn't make it to the US because israel didn't allow me to travel.
When I applied to leave Gaza via Erez to come to the UK for my PhD, I waited for 5 months. The israeli "permit" never came, so I left through Rafah-Egypt after waiting for months as thousands of Palestinians register to leave every day.
4 months after I arrived in the UK, I received an israeli rejection of my "exit permit" application. Among other reasons, this is why the attack on Erez by Palestinian fighters was personally one of the highlights of 7 Oct.
In the short term, will it mean even fewer Palestinians will be allowed to leave Gaza? Yes. Will israel implement more racist policies in the name of "security"? Of course. But the 'when you resist, they only tighten the siege' is not a good argument against armed resistance.
It's patronising & assumes that Palestinians are seeking equality & humane treatment within the paradigm of a settler-colony. Palestinian liberation requires the destruction of the zionist colonial project in Palestine that creates, enables, & maintains these racist structures.
Colonial powers like israel will always use the native's resistance to further dispossess, massacre, oppress, & exploit the natives. Palestinian resistance is not the problem. israel is the problem. Fuck Erez & fuck israel. Thank you. END.

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