Ten Years Later
September 2015. In mid-August 2005, Israel began implementing its plan to disengage from Gaza. Within less than a month, on September 11, 2005, its last troops exited the territory. The rhetoric that ensued was that 38 years of occupation had come to an end, but in fact, Israel has 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. It also controls access to areas of land inside the Strip and fishing access in Gaza’s own territorial waters. In this way and others, Israel continues to impact almost every aspect of life of all of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents.
On paper, in statements, and in action, Israel acknowledges the duty to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, but it does not regard itself as committed to doing anything above the minimum required to keep such a disaster at bay. Since Hamas took over internal control in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel has enforced a tight closure, including further restricting movement of people and goods. The closure has prevented development and impacted innocent civilians in Gaza, and beyond that, by unraveling Gaza’s economy, has stunted growth in the Palestinian territory as a whole.