Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of Israel's opening of the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza; what assessment his Department has made of the (a) social and (b) economic impact this will have on (i) the Palestinian workers, (ii) the local community and (iii) the community in the Gaza strip as a whole; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We welcome the announcement by Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz on 10 February that 1,000 Palestinian workers will be permitted to go through the Erez crossing from Gaza into the Erez industrial zone and Israel.

We have not made a detailed assessment of the impact of Israel's opening of the Erez crossing. We are, however, concerned about the humanitarian and economic consequences of closures and curfews, which restrict the free movement of people and essential supplies between the Occupied Territories and Israel and other countries, as well as within the Occupied Territories themselves. We would like to see the easing of these restrictions continue, notwithstanding further terrorist or suicide attacks at or near the crossing.

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