Attacks on Palestinian industrial zones and crossing points
Published: 7 January 2005
Briefing Number 126
This Briefing describes several recent attacks by Palestinian
gunmen and suicide bombers on the Erez industrial zone (where
thousands of Palestinians work) and on crossing points which
are used by Palestinian workers to move between Gaza and
Israel. These attacks cause hardship for Palestinians and
sabotage their society’s prospects for recovery.
Gaza is poor. But Palestinian groups are repeatedly sabotaging
prospects for improving the standard of living of ordinary Gaza
Israeli soldiers man crossing points out of Gaza and into Israel
because of the ever-present threat of entry into Israel by terrorist
groups. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups operating in Gaza
openly proclaim their intention to kill Israeli civilians.
At the same time, Israel permits thousands of Palestinian workers
to pass through these crossing points daily, to work in specially
designated industrial zones, and earn a wage to help support
their families in Gaza. These zones, and the crossing points
and terminals used for accessing them, have been a frequent
target for attack. Here are details of several attacks (the
information is from the Jerusalem Post, and from the Israeli
Foreign Ministry website):
The Erez industrial zone and crossing point
The Erez industrial zone is located adjacent to the northern
part of the Gaza Strip. Over 4,000 Palestinians work in Erez,
supporting approximately 30,000 family members. The zone includes
factories owned by Palestinians, and by Israelis, and some jointly
owned factories. It has been subject to mortar, suicide bomb,
rocket and shooting attacks:
Gun attack blocks movement of Palestinian workers and
pilgrims to Mecca
Earlier this week, on 3 January 2005, a Palestinian gunman
infiltrated the Erez crossing point via a tunnel, hurled grenades
and shot at Israeli soldiers. Three Palestinian policemen patrolling
the Palestinian side of the crossing were injured (and treated
in Israeli hospitals). The attacker was shot.
The crossing point was damaged, and immediately closed, while
the attack was investigated. Not only were the livelihoods of
thousands of Palestinians disrupted because of the closure.
But the attack interrupted an arrangement being carried out
that very day to enable 4,500 Gaza Palestinian pilgrims to leave
Gaza and travel to Mecca. Because of the closure of the Erez
crossing point, the journey of these Palestinian pilgrims to
Mecca was delayed.
Woman suicide bomber kills four at Erez crossing point
On 14 January 2004 a woman suicide bomber detonated her bomb
inside the Erez crossing point terminal, killing a civilian,
two soldiers and a border policeman. The building was severely
damaged, preventing thousands of Palsetinian workers from using
it for several days. Hamas and the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs each
Other serious attacks on Erez
On 12 April 2004 an Israeli border policeman was shot dead
at the Erez terminal and on 8 June 2003 four Israeli soldiers
were killed by terrorists who infiltrated the industrial zone.
There have been many attempted attacks including an infiltration
into Erez on 21 February 2003 by a gunman armed with a Kalashnikov
and three hand grenades.
Attack on Rafah crossing point
On 12 December 2004 five IDF soldiers were killed, and several
seriously wounded, in a Palestinian attack on an Israeli army
post in the Rafah terminal, connecting the Southern Gaza Strip.
The attack caused the closure of the terminal, and hardship
for thousands of Palestinians who use that crossing point.
Attack on the Karni crossing point
On 15 April 2003 two Israeli civilians were killed when Palestinians
infiltrated the Karni crossing point terminal. One outcome of
that attack was to hinder Palestinians earning their livelihoods.
The attacks by Palestinian groups against crossing points,
and against the Erez industrial zone, have done nothing to improve
the situation of Palestinians. Quite the opposite: they have
helped to sabotage efforts by Israel to improve their day-to-day
While Israel is trying to assist economic activity in Gaza,
it is, ironically, the Palestinian rejectionist groups who are
thwarting those efforts. They are seemingly intent on perpetuating
as much misery and hopelessness as possible. Perhaps that is
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