Import of goods into the Gaza Strip is limited as part of the 2007–present blockade of the Gaza Strip imposed by Israel and Egypt. Israel allows limited humanitarian supplies from aid organizations into the Gaza Strip. Humanitarian organizations, including UN agencies, bring goods into Gaza. As of May 2010, they have brought in, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories of the Israel Defense Forces, 1.5 million liters of diesel fuel and gasoline, fruits and vegetables, wheat, sugar, meat, chicken and fish products, dairy products, animal feed, hygiene products, clothing and shoes.
However, particular items, including cement, wood, iron, cattle, animal medicine, musical instruments, notebooks are still banned as of June, 2010.
In September 2007, citing an intensification of Qassam rocket attacks, Israel declared Gaza "hostile territory." The declaration allowed Israel to prevent the transfer of electricity, fuel, and other supplies into Gaza. The stated purpose of the blockade was to pressure Hamas into ending the rocket attacks and to deprive them of the supplies necessary for the continuation of rocket attacks. It argued that following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas and the intensification of Qassam rocket attacks, it is not legally responsible for Gaza and not obliged to help a hostile territory beyond whatever is necessary to avoid a humanitarian crisis. Egypt also closed the Rafah Border Crossing in June 2007, maintaining that it cannot fully open the Rafah crossing since completely opening the border would represent Egyptian recognition of the Hamas control of Gaza, undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian National Authority and consecrate the split between Gaza and the West Bank.
In January 2010, the Israeli human rights group Gisha took Israeli authorities to court, it attempt to force them to reveal which goods were permitted and which goods weren't. Gisha reported that since Israel tightened the blockade on Gaza an average of 2,300 trucks entered the strip every month, about a quarter of the number of trucks before 2007. An Israeli government document obtained in response to the lawsuit describes Israel's blockade as "economic warfare":
A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using 'economic warfare'.
An Israeli government spokesman in June 2010 added that the blockade is intended to bring about a political goal and that Israel "could not lift the embargo altogether as long as Hamas remains in control" of Gaza.
Items banned by IsraelEdit
After the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in Gaza, Israel and Egypt tightened their closure of Gaza's borders. Israel says the purpose of the restrictions in import of goods into Gaza are to pressure Hamas, which does not recognise Israel and backs attacks on its citizens. Construction materials including metal pipes, steel and cement are banned, since Israel fears could be used for building rockets and constructing underground bunkers and tunnels.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at various times, items such as wheelchairs, dry food items, and crayons, to stationary, soccer balls, and musical instruments have been blocked by Israel. Amnesty International and other organisations reported that cement, glass, steel, bitumen, wood, paint, doors, plastic pipes, metal pipes, metal reinforcement rods, aggregate, generators, high voltage cables and wooden telegraph poles are high priority reconstruction materials currently with no or highly limited entry into Gaza through official crossings. A UN report by Kevin M. Cahill called the restrictions "Draconian", and said that reconstruction is halted because Israel does not permit the importation of steel, cement or glass, among other building materials, and has restricted importation of lentils, pasta, tomato paste and juice, as well as batteries for hearing aids. He said that despite the restrictions UNRWA has been able to provide a basic food supply to over a million refugees in the Gaza Strip.
According to AFP other banned goods include toilet paper, though the BBC lists it as permitted. According to Gisha, fishing ropes and rods, A4 paper, ginger and chocolate, hatcheries and spare parts for hatcheries, were at one point barred. though certain goods cannot be brought in by boat or through Israel, they do still come, often faster and cheaper, through the tunnels.
According to Amira Hass the following items were banned in 2009: books, candles, crayons, clothing, cups, cutlery, crockery, electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, glasses, light bulbs, matches, musical instruments, needles, sheets, blankets, shoes, mattresses, spare machine and car parts, and threads. Pasta, which had been forbidden in the past, is now allowed. Israel does allow importing fruit, milk products in small packages and frozen food products as well as limited amounts of industrial fuel. Contrary to rumors, Israel has not banned sugar. She added that many of the banned products are imported through the tunnels and can be found in Gaza's markets.
Items banned by EgyptEdit
In addition to the border crossings from Israel, the Rafah crossing from Egypt to Gaza has been closed for the pass of commercial goods since 2007, and Egypt maintained that it would only open the crossing if forces from the Palestinian Authority presidential guard and a European supervisory force guarded the border crossing. In June 1, 2010 the border has been partially opened, and the Egyptian Red Crescent sent 30 tons of medicine across the border on June 14. Egypt’s foreign ministry has made it clear that the crossing will remain open mainly for people, not for aid, to go through. The Arab Physicians Union officials submitted a request to Egyptian authorities on June 3, 2010 to send 400 tons of food, blankets, electric generators for hospitals and construction material from Egypt to Gaza, but their request was denied by Egyptian authorities without specific reason. Emad Gad, political analyst at Egyptian Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, believes the government should keep the Rafah border under control because opening it completely could allow weapons smuggling or illegal financial transactions.
List of banned and allowed ItemsEdit
Israel announced on June 2010 it will allow all strictly civilian goods into Gaza while preventing certain weapons and dual-use items from entering the Hamas-run Gaza.
According to Amira Hass, since May 2010, Israel has eased its three-year blockade on the Gaza strip. It has permitted 19 trucks brought building materials into Gaza such as window panes, wood and aluminum for rehabilitation projects, and allowed importing some 100 items out of some 4,000 before the blockade. Raed Fattouh, Palestinian chief of the coordination committee for goods entry said soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted. Gisha stated that a large Israeli supermarket holds 10,000-15,000 items.
Egypt does not limit the supply of gas and fuel, But since Egyptian fuel is heavier than Israeli fuel, it damages the newer cars in Gaza and causes malfunctions.
Israel has never published a list of allowed items, saying it approves requests on a case-by-case basis. A list of items which Israel allowed for Import has been compiled by the BBC from confidential information from international groups including Israeli Human Rights Organisation Gisha. The list refers to goods brought in by commercial importers. Humanitarian organisations, including UN agencies, also bring goods into Gaza. Humanitarian organisations have been allowed to bring in staple foods and medicines, while other items are approved or rejected on a case-by-case basis.
Gisha have said that their list is approximate, partial and it changes from time to time because Israeli authorities refuse to disclose information regarding the restrictions on transferring goods into Gaza. The list is based on information from the Palestinian traders and businesspersons, international organizations, and the Palestinian Coordination Committee, "all of whom "deduce" what is permitted and what is banned based on their experience requesting permission to bring goods into Gaza and the answers they receive from the Israeli authorities". Also Israel permits some of the prohibited items into Gaza (for example: paper, biscuits, and chocolate), on the condition that they are for the use of international organizations, while requests from private merchants to purchase them are denied.
- Gaza–Israel conflict
- Gaza flotilla raid
- 2007–present blockade of the Gaza Strip
- 2010 easing of the blockade of the Gaza Strip
- ↑ "Summary of the weekly transfer of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip by the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT)". IDF Spokesperson's Unit. 2010-05-05. http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/News/today/10/05/0503.htm.
- ↑ http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/publications/Products060610_Eng(1).pdf[non-primary source needed]
- ↑ Erlanger, Steven; Cooper, Helene (September 19, 2007). "Israel Pressures Hamas Ahead of Rice’s Arrival". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/20/world/middleeast/20mideast.html?scp=3&sq=Gaza+fuel+Qassam&st=nyt. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- ↑ "Israel declares Gaza 'hostile territory'". IHT. September 19, 2007. Archived from the original on September 25, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070925181916/http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/19/africa/mideast.php.
- ↑ "Cabinet declares Gaza 'hostile territory'". Haaretz. September 20, 2007. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/905561.html.
- ↑ Security Cabinet declares Gaza hostile territory by MFA
- ↑ "Gaza sanctions: The legal argument". Associated Press. BBC. 2007-10-30. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7069203.stm.
- ↑ Almeghari, Rami (2008-01-27). "Haniya's former advisor expects reopening of other Gaza crossings". International Middle East Media Center. http://www.imemc.org/article/52479.
- ↑ "The Associated Press". The Associated Press. http://www.haaretz.com/news/egypt-fm-hamas-gave-israel-the-excuse-to-launch-gaza-attacks-1.267251.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Sheera Frenkel (June 9, 2010). "Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security". McClatchy Newspapers. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/09/95621/israeli-document-gaza-blockade.html. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Franks, Tim. Details of Gaza blockade revealed in court case and Full List (pdf), BBC News
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 http://web.archive.org/web/20120525004953/http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hYVYAfX_Mu7L_Kv-VU_3g4XdDiSA
- ↑ http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/06/09/israel-allows-banned-products-gaza/
- ↑ "Gaza strip". The Humanitarian Monitor (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – occupied Palestinian territory): p. 8. April 2010. http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_the_humanitarian_monitor_2010_04_english.pdf. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
- ↑ http://www.carewbg.org/Failing-Gaza.pdf
- ↑ http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/news/GazaReport.pdf[non-primary source needed]
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 http://www.economist.com/node/16264970
- ↑ http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1994742,00.html
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/amira-hass-israel-bans-books-music-and-clothes-from-entering-gaza-1.276147
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 A Crack in the Blockade , Egypt Today, July 2010
- ↑ http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/gazans-get-halva-but-not-cookies-1.295228
- ↑ gisha.org
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