In what is now part of its social media commonplace, a post published yesterday on the Arabic Facebook page of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) repeats a false, but familiar, trope: The Gaza Strip has enjoyed a “relative stability” in recent months, the electricity supply has improved, fresh fish have flooded the markets, goods have entered the Strip in abundance, and “many projects” have been initiated.
Importantly, the post is not just a misleading and inaccurate portrayal of steps that have been taken to improve the situation in Gaza. It is a threat of collective punishment: Residents of Gaza, “don’t let terrorism rear its head,” or else “YOU will be the biggest losers.”
Far from meeting its obligations toward residents of the Strip, Israel imposes ongoing, sweeping and arbitrary restrictions on movement of both people and goods that systematically infringe on human rights, thwart any chance of sustainable economic growth, and prevent Gaza’s civilian population from thriving.
Instead of doing all that it can to reverse years of destruction and de-development caused by Israel’s actions in the Strip and the restrictions it imposes at Gaza’s crossings, COGAT threatens to make conditions in Gaza even worse. The basic needs and fundamental human rights of two million people in Gaza must not be made conditional; they must not be used by any party as bargaining chips to further political power struggles.