The Separation Policy: List of references prepared by Gisha

To read the full position paper click here.

July, 2014. In June of 2010, the Israeli government decided, in a formal Security Cabinet decision, to make changes to its policy of closure on the Gaza Strip, which had been in effect since Hamas took over the Strip three years prior. Since the decision, some restrictions on the transfer of goods and raw materials into the Gaza Strip have been lifted and there has been an increase in travel through Erez Crossing, particularly by what Israel refers to as “senior merchants”. Agricultural export from Gaza to Europe via Israel has also increased somewhat.

Despite these changes, the road to development and economic stability in the Strip remains blocked. Gaza’s connections with Israel and the West Bank, vital for its economy and the welfare of its residents, are still subject to sweeping restrictions on movement. The two main restrictions are the prohibition on marketing goods from Gaza in Israel and the West Bank and the narrow criteria for travel by individuals between the Gaza Strip, Israel and the West Bank.

When asked why these restrictions on movement remain in effect, security officials explain that they form part of the “policy of separation” between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This term reappears in official statements and is described as having both political and security goals. It remains unclear whether there is a well-defined and carefully considered policy that carries this title and if so, what its goals might be, what government branch formulated it and if it has been discussed in any political forum.

The following document provides a list of references of which Gisha is aware that have been made directly or indirectly to the separation policy. Since we, like the rest of the Israeli public, do not have a single comprehensive and official explanation of what the components of the separation policy are or what its purpose is, we focus here on providing concrete examples of uses of the term and explanations given for it by state officials and other bodies.

The word in Hebrew that is used to describe the policy, “bidul”, can mean separation and also differentiation. The references indicate the policy is expressed at times as having one or the other as goals, thus further complicating the ability to understand the exact nature or goal of the policy.

The references are organized by type of reference and in chronological order. Most refer to the ban on movement of goods between Gaza and the West Bank. Court and state responses in legal proceedings, listed at the end, refer to the separation policy as it relates to travel of people specifically.

To read the full position paper click here.