Occupational Hazards

In Gaza, even scrap metal collection has its hazards. OCHA reminds us this week in its monitor of the “buffer zone” in place inside Gaza, an area in which the Israeli military prevents Gaza residents from getting within 300 meters of the border between Israel and Gaza – even those trying to earn an unlikely livelihood. This week, OCHA reports, Israeli soldiers entered Gaza and arrested 10 Palestinian civilians who were collecting… Continue reading

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A One-Man Campaign

It doesn’t often happen that we get to report success stories, but this week Ayman Quader “made it”. Ayman, a 23-year-old student from the Gaza Strip, overcame numerous obstacles to reach his goal. After working tirelessly and contacting anyone who would listen to his story, he received his longed-for transit permit from Israel in order to exit the Gaza Strip and travel to University of Jaume in Spain, to pursue a graduate degree in Peace, Conflict & … Continue reading

Posted in Movement of people out of Gaza | 3 Comments

Journey towards the Center of a Grim Reality

Articles recently published about the tunnel trade in the Gaza Strip describe the relatively new industry in an adventurous light, even daring – the Indiana Jones of the Middle East. However, the problem is that adopting this perspective may obscure the overall picture. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza | 2 Comments

Gaza – an Inside Look: Tunnel Youth

Source: B’tselem

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Trigger Happy on the Light Switch

In November, the European Union, which funds the industrial diesel needed to operate Gaza’s only power station, announced that in a joint decision with the Palestinian Authority (PA), its funding worth 97 million Euros per year would end, due in part to the global economic crisis. Despite the fact that it warned of its intentions months in advance, no alternative arrangement was made. In the meantime, the Gaza power station was forced to limit itself to an output of just 30 megawatts, almost a third of its potential generation capacity. Continue reading

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What One Hand Giveth, the Other Hand Taketh Away

Since Israel sent a search and rescue team and doctors to help earthquake-devastated Haiti, op-eds and articles have praised Israel’s important provision of relief and also attempted to hold up a mirror to the country, showing closure-devastated Gaza just over our shoulder. Some in Israel asked, how is it that aid is rushed half a world away when children are living in half-destroyed homes just an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv? Continue reading

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Gaza’s Strawberries Taste Europe

Since the end of December 2009, 36 trucks loaded with strawberries and cut carnation flowers were permitted to leave Gaza for Israel’s Ashdod port, from which they were shipped to Europe. This is the first time since January 2008 that strawberries have managed to leave the 41 kilometer-long Strip. The flowers have been a little luckier – prior to December 2009, Israel permitted the export of 19 truckloads of flowers during the past 2.5 years of closure, mostly around Valentine’s Day. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods out of Gaza | 3 Comments

Militants Fire, Civilians Are Punished

The firing of rockets and mortar shells on towns in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip last week should be categorically condemned, since it targeted Israeli civilians or failed to distinguish between military and civilian targets. The perpetrators and the Hamas government which allows militant groups to fire from the territory under its control must be held accountable. The Israeli Defense Ministry’s hasty response, however, declaring that Kerem Shalom would be closed until further notice, raised concern among those trying to transfer humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Continue reading

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Who’s Afraid of a Tambourine?

Two months ago we wrote that Israel had prohibited the transfer of musical instruments into the Gaza Strip. In that post we quoted Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s response to a query submitted by Israeli parliamentarian Dov Khenin last July regarding the ban: “According to the information available, no applications to bring musical instruments into the Gaza Strip have been received for the past two years”, wrote the Deputy Defense Minister. Apparently we were mistaken – and so was the Deputy Defense Minister. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza | 1 Comment

Has Israel forgotten the "reason" for Gaza's closure?

As news organizations report each detail of a possible prisoner release deal between Israel and Hamas, a related subject is receiving less attention: whether the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, would lead to an opening of Gaza’s crossings, closed to all but the bare minimum passage of people and goods. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza, Movement of people into Gaza, Movement of people out of Gaza | 1 Comment