Gisha director: How much can Israel benefit from the rapprochement with Turkey? It depends on Israel’s policy in Gaza

April 10, 2013. Gisha Director Sari Bashi in an op-ed in today’s Ha’aretz writes about the recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey and how changing Israel’s policy of travel restrictions on Gaza could help improve relations between the two countries. From the article:

“Israel doesn't need to close its border crossings with Gaza to demonstrate to the Palestinians that it can exact a price for rocket fire against Israeli civilians, which is fittingly considered a war crime. No one doubts Israel's military superiority, its complete control over Gaza's airspace and territorial waters and the West Bank's border crossings. However, years of blockading Gaza have shown that imprisoning civilians there also isolates Israel diplomatically – which limits its options for diplomacy, also when it comes to the Gaza Strip”

Meanwhile, the Kerem Shalom crossing is still closed to passage of goods and travel through the Erez crossing is limited to medical cases, foreign nationals, Israeli citizens and other exceptional cases. A senior security official quoted in Walla! today commented (Hebrew) on the closure of the border crossings, saying: “The fact is that the prices of goods in Gaza are not rising as a result of any shortages. This decision hurts the Palestinian street and not Hamas. Israel is achieving the opposite effect and it is not effective”.