Israel: Stop Isolating Gaza

The Daily Beast | Benedetta Berti | April 17, 2013

After agreeing to the terms of the November 2012 ceasefire, Hamas and Israel have been engaged in indirect talks, mediated by Egypt, the guarantor of the peace. These talks represent a step in the right direction. However, to save the fragile ceasefire, they must be accompanied by a real change in policy.

Gaza’s Hamas government prime minister Ismail Haniya and Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal greet Palestinians as they parade the streets following Meshaal’s arrival in Gaza City, on December 7, 2012. (Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty Images)

Since Hamas took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel has dealt with the group through a strategy of non-recognition, isolation of Gaza, and military deterrence aimed at making Hamas’s job of running Gaza extremely difficult, hoping to weaken them. However, this policy has not resulted in the implosion of Hamas, though it has resulted in inflicting severe harm on Gaza and its population and a dramatic deterioration in living standards. Although the situation partially improved following a “relaxation” of the restrictions since the summer of 2010, progress has been limited with extremely grim forecasts of what the future holds for Gaza. The restrictions have also greatly accelerated the social and economic disparities between the West Bank and Gaza, whose real GDP per capita dropped from 89 to 43 percent of the West Bank’s between 2006 and 2009.

Lacking a political approach with respect to Hamas, Israel has invested in defending its home-front while boosting deterrence. However, as the repeated cycles of violence demonstrate, an approach that relies solely on military deterrence has delivered neither stability nor permanent security. Therefore, the current approach needs to be dramatically revised before the next escalation.

The terms stipulated in the 2012 ceasefire provide the chance to do just that. While committing both parties to “halt all hostilities,” the ceasefire also asserts that “opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods” needs to be addressed.

In the past few months, Israel began to lift some of the restrictions in place. For example, Israel has extended Gaza’s fishing zone by three nautical miles, and, for the first time since 2007, it authorized the import of construction raw materials intended for the private sector. These have been important steps, but they hardly go far enough. What’s more, on March 22 and again on April 8, in response to rocket attacks committed by Salafist groups within Gaza, Israel restored pre-existing restrictions on Gaza.

This is a serious mistake. Instead, Israel should invest in the talks and move with greater urgency towards revoking the isolation policy in Gaza, recognizing the window of opportunity to reach a stable ceasefire with Hamas. Egypt, also interested in preserving this uneasy quiet, can play a role by normalizing its border with Gaza, while cracking down on smuggling and tunnels. Hamas, for its part, should commit to both enforcing the ceasefire and to cooperating with Egypt on curbing Salafist-jihadist activism, eventually disbanding its underground tunnels. Ideally, this agreement should pave the way for direct engagement with and recognition of Hamas.

The policy has its drawbacks, most notably strengthening the separation between Gaza and the West Bank. However, the growing economic disparities between the Strip and the West Bank—dramatically worsened by the isolation policy—are also strongly undermining the feasibility of a future Palestinian state and, as such, they should be urgently addressed.

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Benedetta Berti is a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies and a lecturer at Tel Aviv University.

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Special Topic | Full list of all documented Israeli violations since cease-fire

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The History of Resistance – The Eagle of Palestine


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Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 21, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 20, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 19, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 18, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 17, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 16, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 15, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 14, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 11, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 10, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 8, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 5, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Oct 29, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Oct 28, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Oct 24, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Oct 22, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Oct 7, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Sept 29, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Sept 19, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Sept 10, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack – Sept 6, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Aug 5, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack July 12, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack June 23, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack June 1-22, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack May 17, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack April 4, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack March 14, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack March 13, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack March 12, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack March 11, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack March 10, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack March 20, 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack February 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack January 2012

Photos #GazaUnderAttack December 2011

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Oct & Nov 2011

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Aug-Sept 2011

PHOTOS | Israel’s Massacre Cast Lead on Gaza 2008-2009



Martyred By Israeli Occupation Attacks

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar


* The list of shuhada does not display, the numerous victims of the zionist occupation which are undocumented by media. Nor it displays the victims of the “silent onslaught” due to restrictions of movement, ability to go to hospitals for treatment or life saving surgery, due to lack of medication because of the blockades and so on. For example: The Slow Motion Genocide by the Siege on Gaza only, killed 600 patients since Gaza got under Israeli Siege.

For an overview of All Israeli Massacres Palestinians go here

Neither does this list, display the avoidable mortality. A clear and statistical factual evidence, about the number of deaths due to indecent ruling by occupation forces. For even an occupier has obligations under International Laws, Geneva Convention and the Hague regulations, which it is neglecting. These circumstances, together with deliberate policies of the occupier to neglect and even deny every basic human right, severes avoidable mortality which is totally silenced by media or reporting organisations. While in the Holocaust, 1 on 6 Jewish people directly died of deliberate neglect, so if we believe the facts over 1 million due to avoidable mortality, neither should these same circumstances be ignores which are ongoing in Palestine. For this report displays a avoidable morality of at least 0,5 million Palestinians.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.

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