The Quartet Special Envoy’s Office is submitting the ninth bi-weekly report on the implementation of the 15 November Agreement on Movement and Access, covering the period 4 to 17 March 2006 inclusive.
Rafah was open daily during the reporting period for the standard nine hours. On 14 March four truckloads of furniture and handicrafts were exported via Rafah to Egypt, using the back-to-back system under the supervision of the EU BAM. No other truck loads have crossed since. No security incident on the Palestinian side of the crossing was reported. However, on 14 March, the EU BAM closed Rafah 75 minutes earlier than scheduled. The decision was taken jointly with the Palestinian border officials in reaction to the tense situation in the Gaza Strip due to the events in Jericho.
The passages did not open continuously. Karni was open for limited imports on four days only. Exports were allowed on two days. The IDF cited a security warning against the crossing. According to USAID contractors, revenue losses in the agricultural sector in Gaza during this peak in the harvest season are estimated at around US$ 450 thousand per day.
Erez was open for Palestinians on 8 days. On 12 March, Erez was closed because of Purim and has remained closed since. As a consequence, the average daily number of workers and traders crossing into Israel via Erez dropped to 1568, which is roughly half the average registered during the previous reporting period. There was one unspecified security incident at Erez on 7 March. On this and another day, heavy congestion led to the injury of several Palestinian workers.
The deadline for the introduction of truck convoys between Gaza and the West Bank passed on 15 January. Discussions of bus convoys have not yet resumed.
According to OCHA the number of obstacles to movement in the West Bank rose from 487 to 496. Several times a year, OCHA compiles a comprehensive count of physical obstacles to Palestinian movement in the West Bank. The figures reported here are based on OCHA field observations only.
The GoI has not provided the assurance to donors that it will not interfere with the operation of the seaport.
There have been no discussions on the airport during the reporting period.
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