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Palestinian merchant detained at Erez crossing

Dec. 11, 2018 11:20 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 11, 2018 1:23 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained a Palestinian merchant while crossing the Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossing in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday evening.

Head of the documentation unit at the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs in the Gaza Strip, Abed al-Nasser Farawneh, said that Israeli side informed them that merchant Aakef Shumar was detained while at the Erez crossing.

Erez is the only land crossing between Gaza and Israel, although travel is heavily restricted by Israeli authorities as part of a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave in place since 2007.

Palestinians detained at Erez are often interrogated for several hours, sometimes for days, before they are either allowed into Israel en route to the West Bank or sent back to Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory. Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008.

The UN has said that the besieged Palestinian territory could become "uninhabitable" by 2020, as its more than 1.8 million residents remain in dire poverty due to the Israeli blockade that has crippled the economy, while continuing to experience slow-paced reconstruction efforts aimed at rebuilding homes for some 75,000 Palestinians who remain displaced since 2014.

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