This week the Israeli Foreign Ministry boasted that Israel has allowed “a large quantity of educational tools such as notebooks, backpacks, writing tools, and textbooks” into the Gaza Strip in the last month. The Foreign Ministry wrote that: “Through COGAT and the Gaza DCL, Israel makes great efforts to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Gaza Strip, and for this reason the recent transfer was facilitated at the request of the organization [UNRWA].”
“Great efforts” indicate the existence of great obstacles, and the obstacles are indeed great. But ironically, these are obstacles that Israel itself created when it decided that only goods required for maintaining the “humanitarian minimum” would be allowed into the Gaza Strip. And so the recent transfer of educational materials was “facilitated” by Israel’s deviation from its own sweeping policy – of obstruction.
Furthermore, in addition to the fact that the school year began in the Gaza Strip more than 2.5 months ago, the basic goods that Israel has now allowed in are destined only for schools operated by UNRWA, which comprise just one-third of all schools in the Strip – 221 out of 640 schools.
For 240,199 other school students – more than half the student population – who study at government and private schools, the Israeli ban on the import of paper and other basic educational materials remains firmly in place, just as it has been for the past 29 months.