Gisha Response to Cabinet Decision on Gaza Closure

We don’t need more lists; we need to end "economic warfare"

June 17, 2010: In response to today’s decision by the Israeli Security Cabinet to "expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects under international supervision" in Gaza:

Gisha notes that Israel has imposed restrictions on the passage of persons and goods into and out of Gaza not in order to prevent the transfer of weapons but rather as part of what Israel calls "economic warfare", designed, according to Israeli officials, to weaken the Hamas regime, prompt the release of Gilad Shalit and stop the firing of Qassam rockets. In the context of that policy, Israel deliberately prevents Gaza residents from receiving raw materials, exporting finished products, and traveling into and out of Gaza.

The time has come for Israel to ask serious questions about how three years of closure have promoted the goals it declared for itself and what has been the effect on 1.5 million people whose right to travel and to engage in productive work has been denied. We don’t need cosmetic changes. We need a policy that recognizes the rights of Palestinian residents of Gaza not just to consume but also to produce and to travel.

Regarding the suggestion to compile a list of "prohibited" goods: Gisha notes that Israel has already incorporated such a list into its internal legislation – the list of "dual use goods" that reflects international consensus regarding regulation of goods that are primarily civilian but can also be used for military purposes. Fabric, industrial margarine, and cement are not on that list, because, according to the definition in Israeli and international law, they are not suitable for military use.

Israel should permit the free passage of persons and goods into and out of Gaza, including export and import of raw materials and construction materials, subject only to individual security checks.