Is Increased Aid to Gaza Good News?

Last week Israel proudly boasted of a sharp increase in the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. This announcement coincided with the publication of a statement of concern by the European Union regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza, noting that there has been no improvement since January 2009, when the war ended. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Movement of goods into Gaza | 8 Comments

Who Has the Right to a Notebook?

This week the Israeli Foreign Ministry boasted that Israel has allowed “a large quantity of educational tools such as notebooks, backpacks, writing tools, and textbooks” into the Gaza Strip in the last month. The Foreign Ministry wrote that: “Through COGAT and the Gaza DCL, Israel makes great efforts to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Gaza Strip, and for this reason the recent transfer was facilitated at the request of the organization [UNRWA].” Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza | 4 Comments

A Storm in Gaza

The first storm of the winter hit Israel last week. Following a long period of drought, the plentiful downpour was greeted with joy, even though the stormy weather predictably caused flooding and damage. The rain and strong winds also hit Gaza, where residents found that they are particularly vulnerable in stormy weather. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 6 Comments

The Dangers of Music, According to Israel

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s response to a query submitted by MK Dov Khenin in July regarding the ban on importing musical instruments into Gaza was recently published. In his (surprising) answer, the deputy minister claimed that: “According to the information available, no applications to bring musical instruments into the Gaza Strip have been received for the past two years.” Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza | 3 Comments

Can Gaza’s Stagnant Economy be “Reactivated”?

Amr Hamad, Deputy Director of the Palestinian Federation of Industries, came to Ramallah from the Gaza Strip last week to help assess the damage to the business sector in Gaza as a result of the last war. He told a Gisha representative that the European Union is considering compensating factories, business facilities and other institutions for the damages they sustained, estimated at $45 million (U.S.). EU representatives apparently understand the problematic nature of a situation where European tax-payers are to be sent the bill for damages caused by the Israeli army, and they have decided not to call it compensation, but rather a “business reactivation” plan. Continue reading

Posted in economic development, Infrastructure | 1 Comment

A Non-Economy

Perhaps the Israeli business sector understands something that Israeli politicians simply don’t comprehend – that the Palestinian economy in Gaza, which has collapsed due the 27-month-long closure imposed by Israel, has changed beyond recognition: hundreds of tunnels are currently operational in the Strip (between 600 and 1,000) and thousands of people are risking their lives to work in them. These tunnels are supplying about two-thirds of the goods required by the residents of the Gaza Strip. Thousands of dollars in permit fees and millions of dollars in taxes are being collected by the Hamas government. Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza | 2 Comments

Are The Last Gates to Gaza Being Nailed Shut?

According to Palestinian officials, last month Israel mounted three attempts to transport industrial diesel into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom border crossing. Previously, Nahal Oz has been the only crossing designed and equipped for the transfer of fuels and gas to Gaza. The reports that Israel intends to close down the Nahal Oz crossing completely follow a gradual slowdown of operations at the terminal, which now operates only three days a week. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Movement of goods into Gaza | 4 Comments

Leeway for Lulavs Shows Benefits of Trade

The announcement that Israel would allow lulavs to be imported from Gaza ahead of the week-long Jewish Festival of Succot was greeted with mixed feelings. Lulavs, the young shoots of palm trees used as part of the religious rituals associated with the holiday, grow abundantly in Gaza and are in great demand in Israel at this time of year. But how did a “hostile entity” suddenly become a legitimate partner for ad hoc trade? Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods out of Gaza | Leave a comment

Lighting up the Holiday

Rafiq Maliha, Project Manager at the Gaza Power Generation Company (GPGC) heaves a heavy sigh before beginning his description of the current situation at the Gaza Power Plant. Apparently he’s been over this quite a few times already. “Originally, the Gaza Power Plant was designed with an output capacity of 140 megawatts of electricity,” he explains. “Throughout its years of operation, the plant’s maximum output level was 118 megawatts. That was in 2006, just before Israel bombed the power plant and destroyed all six transformers”. Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 1 Comment

Declaring War on Chocolate

Residents of Gaza this week are celebrating Eid el-Fitr, the holiday marking the conclusion of the month of Ramadan. During this festival, it is customary to eat lots of sweets. However, this year, once again, the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel for the past 27 months, includes a prohibition on importing chocolate and other sweets. Why ban chocolate? Because Israel considers chocolate, along with the majority of the other consumer goods that were once sold in Gaza, as “beyond what is essential for the basic existence of the population.” Israel has a point. It is possible to exist without chocolate. But isn’t it a shame? Continue reading

Posted in Movement of goods into Gaza | Comments Off on Declaring War on Chocolate