Gisha writes to Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general following a communique regarding the Gaza closure
On August 17, 2014, the Israeli foreign ministry released a communique about the Gaza closure entitled Behind the headlines: The myth of an Israeli siege on Gaza. The communique contained some serious errors of fact. It mentioned, among other things, that Israel supplies the Gaza Strip with 10 million cubic meters of water, when in fact, according to reports by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Israel supplies Gaza with only 5 million cubic meters of water.
On August 31, 2014, Gisha sent a letter (Hebrew) to the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nissim Ben Shitrit, in which we listed the errors and demanded the general director make sure future publications are more accurate.
The foreign ministry communique also noted that 60,000 people entered Israel from the Gaza Strip during the first five months of 2014. This figure is also misleading. It includes both entries into Israel and exits out of Israel. In addition, the figure includes all passengers traveling through the crossing, including foreign nationals who make up about 10% of all passengers on average. In addition, the Israeli entry permits given to many Palestinians, such as merchants, allow for multiple entries. Since merchants account for more than 30% of passengers traveling through Erez Crossing, the lower figure that remains from the original 60,000 figure includes “repeat customers”. COGAT accepts this analysis, as indicated in a letter (Hebrew) dated August 14, 2013, in which COGAT explains how to read the official data provided in its weekly reports (including an explanation regarding the number of passengers at Erez Crossing).
Further comments by Gisha on other (non-legal) aspects in the foreign ministry communique were posted on our blog.