Israel Gaza blockade must be completely lifted
Source: Amnesty International
17 June 2010
AI Index: PRE01/202/2010
Amnesty International today urged Israel to completely lift without delay its blockade on Gaza, which imposes a collective punishment on 1.4 million Palestinians in clear violation of international law.
On Thursday, the Israel cabinet announced that the blockade would be eased, allowing more of what it terms “civilian goods” into the impoverished territory where 4 out of 5 people are dependent on international aid.
“This announcement makes it clear that Israel is not intending to end its collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, but only ease it. This is not enough,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Any step that will help reduce the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza is to be welcomed, but Israel must now comply with its obligations as the occupying power under international law and immediately lift the blockade.”
“Just as important as allowing goods into Gaza is allowing exports to leave Gaza, yet there is no mention of this in today’s announcement. Banning the vast majority of exports, raw materials and the movement of people has destroyed the economy of Gaza, and pushed its population into unemployment, poverty and dependency on aid agencies for survival. These problems will not be solved while the blockade continues.”
According to media reports, Israel is to move from allowing only listed products into Gaza, to using a list of products that will be specifically prohibited.
It is not yet clear which products will remain prohibited and there is also no mention of allowing the free movement of people, also a human right under international law.
The current Israeli restrictions prevent the movement of Palestinians through the crossing points from Gaza into Israel in all but a handful of cases, generally in exceptional humanitarian cases.
This closure makes it extremely difficult for Palestinians in Gaza to exit even to receive necessary medical treatment and virtually impossible to leave for reasons such as visiting close family members or taking up university places and jobs.
The Israeli authorities have previously put forward a range of justifications for the blockade - saying that it is a response to attacks from Palestinian armed groups, a reaction to the continued holding of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and a means to pressure the Hamas de facto administration.
Amnesty International has strongly condemned the firing of indiscriminate weapons by Palestinian armed groups into southern Israel as a violation of international law, but measures limiting civilian goods, the movement of people and virtually banning export, target the civilian population as a whole not the armed groups in particular.
“Any restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods into or out of Gaza must be proportionate and non-discriminatory”, said Malcolm Smart.
“Israel may need to carry out monitoring of entry points to Gaza for security purposes, but that monitoring must be targeted at those suspected of posing a security threat – not to the whole population”
The Gaza Strip, along with East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, was occupied by Israel in 1967. Israel has imposed increasingly severe restrictions on Palestinian movement into and out of Gaza since the early 1990s, including on their movement to other parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This contradicts the principle, accepted by international community, that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip comprise one territorial unit and violates the occupying power’s duty to ensure the welfare of the occupied population, as stipulated under Articles 27 and 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Despite the withdrawal of Israeli settlers living illegally in Gaza in 2005 (the process referred to by Israel as “disengagement”) the Israeli authorities have retained control of Gaza’s airspace, its land border with Israel and its territorial waters – as shown by its recent military action against the humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza in which nine international activists were killed.
After Hamas took control in Gaza in June 2007, the existing Israeli policy of closure was tightened to a blockade restricting the entry of food, fuel, and other basic goods. Movement of medical cases in and out of the area became restricted and delayed. Gazan families are not allowed to visit relatives in Israeli jails. This situation was made worse by the general closure of the Rafah crossing (Gaza’s single crossing point with Egypt) to daily use by the Egyptian authorities. After 2007 Rafah was opened only intermittently to allow some occasional movement.
Following Israel’s military action on 31 May 2010 against the aid flotilla in international waters outside Gaza, the Egyptian authorities announced they were opening the Rafah crossing point ‘indefinitely’. However, Egypt has yet to permit fully free passage of Palestinians into its territory, allowing entry only to Palestinians with specially obtained permits.
As the occupying power, Israel bears the foremost responsibility for ensuring the welfare of the inhabitants of Gaza.
DN! Palestinians, Human Rights Groups Call for Full Repeal of Gaza Blockade.flv
StartLoving3 — June 18, 2010 — Palestinians, Human Rights Groups Call for Full Repeal of Gaza Blockade
Palestinians and human rights groups are renewing calls for a complete end to the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip following Israel's decision to alter the blockade. On Thursday, Israel began allowing more items into Gaza, including food supplies, toys, mattresses and towels. But Israel will still control the flow of goods and maintain both the sea blockade and the ban on vital building materials. Although Israel has claimed it will now allow all food items into Gaza, Palestinian officials say Israel appears to be maintaining its ban on industrial-size containers that would allow for food production at Gaza factories. Israel has forced the closure of scores of Gaza factories by denying key materials as part of its effort to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas in 2006 elections. The blockade was altered following weeks of international outcry over the deadly Israeli assault on a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza. Echoing many other human rights groups, Amnesty International said, "This announcement makes it clear that Israel is not intending to end its collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population, but only ease it...Israel must now comply with its obligations as the occupying power under international law and immediately lift the blockade."
Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog
Friday, June 18, 2010
- ***Alnakba [The Catastrophe] - [P1] The Threads of the Conspiracy [P2] Crushing the Revolution
- ***Alnakba [The Catastrophe] - [P3] Ethnic Cleansing [P4] Nakba Continued
- **Al Nakba [La Catástrofe] - [P1] Los Hilos de la Conspiración [P2] Aplastar la Revoución
- **AlNakba [La Catásrofe] - [P3] Limpieza Étnica
- *A Palestinian Woman
- *Azmi Bishara - Interview:
- *Azmi Bishara on Israeli Apartheid
- *Azmi Bishara: The Last Colonial Question
- *Blood & Religion, Unmasking the Israeli State
- *De Facto State of Lawlessness
- *Drying up Palestine
- *Edward Said - On Orientalism
- *Edward Said: Lecture The Myth of 'The Clash of Civilzations'
- *Edward Said: Memory, Inequality and Power: Palestine and the Universality of Human Rights
- *Edward Said: Palestine, Iraq and U.S. Policy
- *Francis Boyle - Palestinians and International law
- *From Occupation to Enclosure: Fragmenting the Palestinian State 1 - Diana Buttu"
- *From Occupation to Enclosure: Fragmenting the Palestinian State 2 - Amira Hass"
- *George Bisharat - Ending the Palestinian Nakba
- *Ghada Karmi at Yale
- *Ghada Karmi: Why Israel is a Failed State
- *Ilan Pappe - Interview
- *Ilan Pappe - Israel's 1967 Plan for the West Bank and Gaza Strip
- *Ilan Pappe on the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
- *In the Spider's Web
- *Interview: Ghassan Andoni
- *Israel's Secret Weapon (Israel's WMD)
- *Jeff Halper - Israeli Apartheid and the Paths to a Just Peace
- *Jeff Halper- The United States, Israel and the American Jewish Community
- *Jenin Jenin
- *John Pilger - Palestine is still the issue
- *John Pilger - The War on Democracy
- *Landscapes of Occupation in Palestine
- *Muhammad Jaradat & Eitan Bronstein: 1948 and the Right of Return
- *Noam Chomsky - Middle East Crisis
- *Noam Chomsky on Gaza - MIT
- *Norman Fikelstein - The Israel-Palestine conflict: what we can learn from Gandhi
- *Norman Finkelstein speech at Columbia University (3 parts video)
- *Occupation 101
- *Off The Charts - If Americans Knew
- *Palestine Street -1- The Lost Bride
- *Palestine Street -2- The Bride in exile
- *Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict
- *People and The Land: The Story of a People Under Occupation
- *Phyllis Bennis - "Dual Occupations: Iraq and Palestine in Bush's Empire"
- *Rachel: An American Conscience
- *Rashid Khalidi - Palestine: 40 Years of Occupation, 60 Years of Dispossession
- *Rep. Paul Findley Dares to Speak Out -- Again! AIPAC exposed
- *Salman Abu Sitta: Atlas Palestine
- *Salman Abu Sitta: The Geography of Occupation
- *Secret WMD in Israel
- *Technical Error at Beit Hanoun
- *Tegenlicht ('Backlight') A Documentary on the Israel Lobby -
- *The Bases Are Loaded: US Permanent Military Presence in Iraq
- *The Easiest Targets: The Israeli Policy of Strip Searching Women and Children
- *The influence of the Israel Lobby on American foreign policy
- *The Iron Wall
- *The Israeli Wall in Palestinian Lands
- *The Killing Zone
- *The Unrecognized
- *This is Not Your War
- *Wall of Shame
- Watch "If Americans Knew" Videos
- Watch Alternate Focus Videos
- Watch B'Tselem Videos
- watch ISM Videos
- Watch pdxjustice Videos