Though Israel’s policy on the Gaza Strip affects the lives of millions of people in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, the policy and its impact remain unfamiliar to many both inside and outside Israel. As part of our efforts to promote freedom of movement, we have initiated public awareness campaigns on the closure, its effect on daily life in Gaza and its effectiveness vis-à-vis its official goals. Below is a partial list:
On September 11, 2005, the last Israeli soldier ostensibly left the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israel has in fact maintained control over the movement of both people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. It prohibits travel and trade by sea and air, and prevents passage between the two parts of the Palestinian territory. Israel’s policy ever since has condemned Gaza’s residents to a life full of uncertainty and peril, devoid of hope. It seems that many in Israel realize the mistakes that have been made. On the ten-year mark of the disengagement, we review common myths and relevant facts about Gaza and Israel’s policy toward the Strip as well as tracking important events over the past decade.
On June 24, 2015, Palestinian Housing Minster, Mufid Al-Husayneh, announced the beginning of a new phase in Gaza’s reconstruction – the rebuilding of homes destroyed during Operation Protective Edge. Ten months after the fighting ended, despite massive destruction and international mobilization, Gaza took its first step toward rebuilding the first out of thousands of homes that were completely destroyed. Here we explore the workings of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, trace the entrance of constructions materials and answer the question of why reconstruction is taking so long.
The photo exhibit Distant | Relatives offers a glimpse into the lives of three Palestinian families, divided between Gaza and the West Bank: three women who followed their hearts and because of movement restrictions imposed by Israel rarely see their parents and other family members. Israel Prize-winner Alex Levac photographed in the West Bank and Ted Fellow Eman Mohammed photographed in Gaza.
A short film, created for Gisha by Itamar Rose, introduces ordinary Israelis to one element of Israel’s criteria on movement of people which translates into a grandchild being prohibited from visiting her dying grandmother in the West Bank. Such requests are considered only if they are submitted by first-degree relatives. The people in the clip were asked to decide whether or not to let the young woman visit her sick grandmother in Ramallah. Who let her through? Who chose not to? What would you have done?
January 2014 marked three months since the defense ministry’s decision to prevent the entry of construction materials designated for the private sector in Gaza. The damage to the economy is immense. How has the ban impacted people’s lives? Read this.
Think Gaza shouldn’t receive electricity? That travel between Gaza and the West Bank poses a security risk? That the Gaza-Egypt border should be enough for Gaza residents? We don’t agree, but we think it’s worth talking about, so we created a space where we can give concise answers to the claims coming at us from different directions. At present this item is only available in Hebrew.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories refused to allow runners from Gaza to travel to Bethlehem to participate in a marathon held there. Though we couldn’t change the decision, we were amazed at the number of web surfers and marathon runners who lent a hand.
We, along with web surfers, joined forces to have the ban on the sale of Gaza strawberries in the West Bank revoked. Hundreds of faxes were sent to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Cabinet Secretary and the Minister of Defense. True, the government didn’t change its mind then, but hundreds more people learned about the issue and it’s a step on the way to reversing the policy.
Four gender, democracy and human rights students from Gaza asked us to help them complete their degrees in the West Bank. The advancement of women is of immense importance everywhere. In Gaza, women suffer disproportionately from the ban on travel by students from Gaza to the West Bank.
It is unusual to find synchronicity between the messages put out by human rights organizations and the prevailing opinion among security experts, political analysts and senior government officials, but fortunately, this is exactly what is happening with respect to lifting the civilian closure of Gaza. We have collected a number of statements illustrating the Israeli consensus on the need to lift the civilian closure of Gaza and allow true and sustainable economic development in the Strip. All the statements we have collected were made after the government’s June 2010 announcement about the easing of the closure.
Have we really disengaged from Gaza? A short animated film describes the Israeli closure on the Strip and how it mostly harms the civilian population there.