“The concept is that […] movement is considered exceptional privilege”

“permission to travel is the exception to the norm”. Erez Crossing. Picture: Karl Schembri

July 9, 2015. Eitan Diamond, Gisha’s executive director, was interviewed (Hebrew) on IDF Radio show, Security Zone, yesterday: “We welcome the positive statements we have been hearing from top security officials on the need for recovery in Gaza, but there is a huge gap between the rhetoric and what’s happening on the ground. There have been some changes to the policy, but it is still very similar to what it was in the past. Under this policy, travel restrictions are the norm, and permission to travel is the exception to the norm. We have been seeing some restrictions on individual travel lifted, but the rule has been and remains that there is no movement and there is no passage”.

Diamond added: “Travel by people not just out, but also in [to Gaza] is key for people’s ability to lead normal lives there. Of course, there are also restrictions on both exit and entry of goods. The one that has the most dramatic effect is the restriction on the entry of construction materials. They are allowed [in], but at a pace that’s years away from being able to fill the need in Gaza. The economy cannot recover like that; life cannot be rehabilitated like that. If the concept is that there is no movement and movement is considered some sort of exceptional privilege, it should be the complete opposite. The rule should be that movement is possible, and that only when it is necessary, or if there is a principled need to limit access – then do you restrict movement. This fundamental shift in policy is the key”.

For the full interview click here (Hebrew)