January 29, 2020. The “peace plan” presented yesterday in Washington D.C. aims to make permanent a reality of fragmentation, isolation and division in the occupied Palestinian territory. Further entrenching the dispossession of Palestinians and perpetuating the occupation are a recipe for ongoing conflict, not peace.

In Gisha’s 15 years of monitoring access and movement to and from the Gaza Strip, an area where Israel alleges it removed its claims, it has been plainly obvious that continued control over land, sea, airspace, and commercial and pedestrian crossings provides Israel with endless means of enacting collective punishment. Israel repeatedly uses this control to render suffering on a whim.

Control over movement means control over life. The sweeping restrictions that Israel imposes on movement of people and goods prohibit economic activity and sentence the Palestinian civilian population to a life of scarcity. Movement restrictions are the violent, everyday norm. They deny people access to livelihoods, education, medical care, and tear apart families and communities.

Nods to bridges and tunnels are not enough given that the only vision presented in this plan is for enclaves, disturbingly reminiscent of Bantustans, whose residents will be deprived of rights and of control over their own fate.

Gisha will continue to promote the fundamental right to freedom of movement, a precondition for exercising other fundamental rights and for living a life of dignity. A real solution to the conflict cannot be reached by coercion; it will only come by recognizing the rights of all residents of the region.