Israel’s answer for Gaza: If they haven’t bread, let them eat gravel

on 4 Comments

The eve of Eid al-Adha celebrated this week brought news of a shortage of flour in the Gaza Strip. For the past two weeks, traders and flour mill owners have warned of shortages of wheat in the Strip, claiming that the mills have been providing about half of their production capacity. The mathematical formulas, which the army used to determine the level to which they would allow the stock of flour in Gaza to be reduced, are no longer in effect. So why is there a shortage?

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Goods: Needs Vs. Supply for 10/17/10 -11/13/10 (Source: Gisha)

Wheat is delivered to Gaza through the conveyer belt at the Karni crossing (currently the only operational part of the crossing, which was closed to trucks in June 2007). So far, the conveyer belt has been operational on only two days per week for the transfer of wheat and animal feed into Gaza. However, since mid-October, Israel has reduced the transfer of wheat and animal feed to just one day per week. On the other day, Israel allows gravel to be transferred to the Strip, pursuant to its June announcement regarding changes to the policy for the entry of goods into Gaza, including a promise to allow the entry of construction materials for projects run by international organizations. Incidentally, Israel also promised to open other land crossings “if the need arises to further increase the capacity of the crossings”. In practice, approvals for construction projects are extremely limited – since the change in policy, an average of 107 trucks carrying construction materials were allowed into Gaza per month compared to an average of about 5,000 trucks which entered Gaza every month prior to the closure. In addition, instead of opening additional crossing points, Israel has announced its intention to close the Karni conveyor belt and transfer all operations to Kerem Shalom.

Thus Israel’s promise to allow the entry of construction materials, which was supposed to be good news for the residents of Gaza, has created additional difficulties in transferring basic and essential nutritional ingredients. Israel refuses to increase the number of days the conveyor belt operates and with regard to opening additional crossing points – there is no room for discussion. 

Moreover, the gravel which Israel allows into the Gaza Strip is not sufficient for the construction planned by international organizations. According to UNRWA, at this rate, it will take 75 years to implement the organization’s plan to rehabilitate Gaza. UNRWA, incidentally, is also facing a shortage in its flour reserves, because it buys flour from the local market in Gaza after the wheat is transferred to the Strip through the Karni crossing.

Gisha is an Israeli not-for-profit organization, founded in 2005, whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents. Gisha promotes rights guaranteed by international and Israeli law.

4 Responses

  1. eljay
    November 18, 2010, 8:17 am

    >> … since mid-October, Israel has reduced the transfer of wheat and animal feed to just one day per week.

    Don’t the “humanists” in Israel realize that for Palestinians to remain entertainingly “resilient and energetic” they need to eat properly? Without sufficient food, Palestinians will become “resilient, but undernourished and lethargic”, and that simply doesn’t make for good entertainment. :-(

  2. Pixel
    November 18, 2010, 8:57 am

    Great title!

  3. Eva Smagacz
    November 18, 2010, 9:24 am

    Palestinians can learn a lot about Israeli Jews and Jewish history through their situation:

    This from link to

    However, using the Warsaw Ghetto as a primary example, Jews suffered greatly next to their gentile counterparts, alloted on the average, 650-800 calories a day which consisted often of coarse bread [sometimes with sawdust as a filler], a small portion of fat,ersatz or imitation coffee when possible made of chicory and other roots, starchy vegetables especially potatoes and turnips, with occasional variety based upon a blackmarket and whatever was left for distribution. There was almost no meat in the diet for the poor, which was most of the ghetto at the time. Families with workers got better portions and even in the war in the ghetto, wealthy Jews benefited much as their outside counterparts. An example of this is in Lodz where Rumkowski was deeply criticized by his fellow Jews for living in relative ease and caring little for his ‘charges’.
    Even when the Jews adapted to low-calorie diets after time, starvation still took its natural consequence: malnutrition. Because of the lack of a proper diet in addition to extremely limited caloric intake, malnutrition related diseases took hold such as scurvy and beriberi which are vitamin deficiency conditions. Since the immune system does not function normally in starvation and malnutrition, people are more susceptible to disease, hence the weakened condition coupled with other issues such as lack of clean drinking water aided bacterial related diseases and the inability to fight off others. Typhus was a constant problem in the camps and ghettos and people died daily. Since even in the ghetto hospitalization was not free, many died for lack of medical care in a viscious cycle.

    But of course it is all Hamas fault. If only they did this or that or other Gaza would become new Shanghai on the Mediterranean.

    So sorry (sarcasm alert) about seeing connections with second world war. It upsets some people who consider my pointing out the similarities to be anti-Semitic.

  4. yourstruly
    November 18, 2010, 3:19 pm

    Gaza is the Warsaw ghetto in slow motion.

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