Gisha’s Gaza Gateway has published a position paper presenting a brief overview of how Israel continues to maintain control in Gaza. Here are some examples:
The tax system
Israel continues to control taxation in the Gaza Strip, which forms part of a single customs envelope along with Israel and the West Bank. This means that Israel sets the customs and Value Added Tax rates collected for goods and in so doing influences product prices as well as Palestinian fiscal policy. To illustrate: a merchant in Gaza who purchases clothes from an Israeli manufacturer pays VAT at a rate determined by Israel, and Israel is responsible for transferring this amount to the Palestinian Authority. If the merchandise is imported, Israel sets and collects the customs for it and is responsible for transferring the amount to the Palestinian Authority. The VAT and customs rates set by Israel then affect the price the consumer pays for clothes in Gaza.
Physical control of the Gaza Strip
Following “disengagement” in 2005, Israel continued to control the area adjacent to its border with the Gaza Strip on the Palestinian side. In 2008, Israel expanded this area, referred to as the “no-go” zone, and today it covers a distance ranging from 300 to 1,500 meters from the border1. The area which is restricted in practice includes both areas which have officially been declared off-limits and areas where one risks being shot at. It amounts to some 17% of the entire territory of the Gaza Strip and a third of its agricultural lands.
The land crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt
The 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access marked the end of Israel’s military presence at the Rafah Crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, yet allowed Israel to maintain substantial control over the terminal. This control was exercised via Israel’s continued control of the Palestinian population registry, which determines who may travel through Rafah, the ability to monitor individuals traveling through the crossing, and the power to decide when and if to close Rafah. The crossing operated routinely as per the Agreement on Movement and Access until June 2006.
Israel has complete control over Gaza’s territorial waters and prevents movement of people and goods by sea. It also limits fishing to a distance of three nautical miles from Gaza’s coastline. In 2008, Israel made an exception and allowed six ships to reach Gaza, but has since prevented the arrival of any vessels. Israel has cited various legal sources as the basis for the ban on maritime travel off the Gaza coast: until 2005 it maintained the ban was imposed pursuant to the laws of occupation; beginning in 2005, it justified its control of Gaza’s territorial waters as “security restrictions on fishing areas off the Gaza Strip coast” , and, at times, as an exclusion zone or a combat zone. On January 3, 2009, in the midst of the large scale military operation “Cast Lead”, Israel declared a maritime blockade off Gaza’s coast, and though the operation ended that same month, the blockade has remained in force. In 2001, despite its commitment to allow the construction of a seaport in the Gaza Strip, Israel destroyed the site facilities belonging to the foreign company which was about to begin construction of a port and has since prevented construction by failing to provide donors with assurances that such port would not be destroyed.
Israel maintains complete control over Gaza’s airspace and prevents movement of people and commercial goods by air. Gaza’s airport, built in 1998, was closed in October 2000, following the outbreak of the Second Intifada, and bombed by Israel in 2001. Since then, there has been no air traffic into and out of the Strip. The only exception is Israeli aircrafts, manned and unmanned, which fly over the Gaza Strip to carry out observations, collect information and bomb targets including in “targeted killings”, that is to say the assassination from the air of individuals defined by Israel as wanted.
Control of civilian infrastructure
Israel controls the supply of infrastructure upon which the Gaza Strip is reliant. Gaza’s electricity system, as developed since 1967, is largely based on power supplied from Israel through 11 high voltage transmission lines1. A power station was built in Gaza in 1998, but its capacity has been limited since it was bombed by Israel in 2006. The station has never been fully repaired. Restrictions on the transfer of equipment and the entrance of trained professionals, as well as on the shipping of equipment for repairs outside Gaza, have also impaired the ability to upgrade the electricity system. Another factor that interfered with the operation of the power station was the restrictions Israel imposed on the transfer of industrial diesel into Gaza beginning in October 2007 as part of its policy of “economic warfare”, designed to undermine Gaza’s economy. A dispute over finances between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip further decreased industrial diesel supply to Gaza in 2010. In early 2011, the shortage was partially resolved by the purchase and transport of diesel for the power station through the tunnels. As a result, the power station’s dependence on Israel has decreased, though it still relies on Israel, to a degree, for shipping equipment for repairs, importing parts, bringing in expert engineers and sending engineers from Gaza for professional training and business meetings. Additionally, Israeli-supplied electricity still makes up the lion’s share of Gaza’s electricity, and there is no plan for an alternative in sight.
Gaza Strip and the West Bank
Following Hamas’ takeover of internal control in Gaza in June 2007, the Palestinian Authority’s influence over Gaza has significantly diminished, and most of the routine administration of the government and public services, such as the education system, policing, sanitation and hospitals, is carried out by the Hamas regime. However, the Palestinian Authority still maintains significant responsibilities, particularly the financing of major public services such as the healthcare system and the supply of electricity. The Palestinian Authority continues to coordinate the passage of people and goods with Israel, and taxes levied on goods transported from Israel through the crossings are collected by Israel on behalf of the PA. Additionally, Palestinian Authority officials remain responsible for transferring applications for changes in the population registry to Israeli authorities, including for the purpose of issuing passports. For this reason, Israel’s control over the Palestinian Authority, which operates both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, influences the latter’s ability to make independent decisions related to Palestinian residents, govern them and fund public services.
The population registry
Israel continues to control the Palestinian population registry which is common to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Any change made in these records requires Israel’s approval, including the registration of births, marriages, divorces, deaths or address changes. The Palestinian Authority may amend or issue an ID card only after Israeli approval is granted. Israel updates all the changes in its copy of the population registry, which determines who is recognized as a Palestinian resident for the purpose of travel permits. Palestinian passports are issued by the Palestinian Authority only to residents who are listed in the Israeli-administered population registry. Physically, coordination on issues pertaining to the population registry for Gaza is done through meetings between representatives from Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Gaza which are held at Erez Crossing.
B’Tselem center for human rights said the Israeli government accelerated the building of the huge iron wall on its borders with Egypt in the Sinai and finished about 70 kilometers of it.
Aid convoy “Arab Spring” to arrive in Gaza soon
The European campaign to end the siege on Gaza said it is making preparations in cooperation with the European commission for humanitarian aid to send an aid convoy to Gaza later this month.
Israel to invite bids for 800 East Jerusalem homes
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel is to invite tenders for the construction of more than 800 new homes in two settlement neighborhoods of annexed East Jerusalem, a housing ministry spokesman said on Tuesday. Ariel Rosenberg told AFP the ministry had published formal notice of its intention to invite tenders to build 749 housing units in the southern Har Homa neighborhood, and another 65 in Pisgat Zeev in the north.
Palestinian family to be evicted within two weeks
Silwanic has learnt that Israeli authorities plan to evict a Palestinian family living in Wadi Hilweh within the next two weeks. The family received a court order notifying them of the eviction expected to take place any time before 28 November 2011. The threatened family owns the house, and have been engaged in a long legal battle for it with Israeli authorities since the first half of last decade. The family has already lost a plot of land to the Elad settlement association. Should they succeed in appropriating the house, Israeli authorities seek to turn it over to settlers. The Israeli Department of Procedures has demanded that the family pay 2 million NIS as the only means to keeping the property. Under Israeli law, however, this is impossible. Over the decades, authorities have used the same tactics to appropriate many other Palestinian homes and properties in Silwan, claiming that the land belonged to Jewish people. On occasion when defendants have proved this to be incorrect, the nominated Absentee Property guardian orders the threatened family to leave their house complaining the real owner live out of the country. Through a persistent limiting of defendant families’ legal options, the houses are then acquisitioned by the state who turn them over to Elad and other settlement organisations.
Israeli army steps up attacks on Palestinian water
Speaking to the American Congress in May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked that Israel would maintain a long-term presence in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley. In the months that followed, the Israeli army stepped up its attacks on the water wells of the Palestinians who live there.
Pathology of a Checkpoint in Service of Settlers
Tamar Fleishman – The Palestine Chronicle – “In order to give this prohibition validity, a special decree […] signed by the commander in charge of the Central Command, Yaeir Nave, had been issued in 2006. The procedure was called ‘regulatory selection’ and as the commander of the checkpoint explained: ‘during the regulatory selection we stop the car, check whether it’s a Jew or an Arab, if it`s a Jew – check to see if he is disoriented and warn him from heading on to Ramallah’. When I mentioned the bad historic connotation of the expression, he laconically replied: ‘the army has enough to deal with. It can`t be bothered with every single word…’”
Israeli tanks on Tuesday morning fired a barrage of artillery shells at the eastern part of Gaza city.
Media: Israel military chief favors Gaza offensive (AP)
AP – Israeli media report the nation’s top military commander as saying he favors a major offensive in Gaza because of rocket attacks.
Settler threatens resident with gun in Ras al-Amoud
Eyewitnesses report seeing an Israeli settler point a gun at a Palestinian resident in Ras al-Amoud district of Silwan on Friday night, 10 November. The incident followed confrontations between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces in Al-Hara al-Wasta district, which lies next to Ras al-Amoud. The settler involved was not questioned or charged by police. Settler violence has long been an unfortunate fact of life for Palestinian inhabitants of Silwan. Last year Samer Sarhan, 36, was shot dead by a settler guard, and this year Milad Ayyash, 16, met the same fate. Many others have been grievously injured, including Mazen Audeh, 23, who was shot in the leg by a settler; Ameer Froukh, 13, shot; and Ahmad Qaraeen, 39, who was shot in both legs with an M-16 rifle by a settler on leave from his military service.
Report: Settlers vandalize Palestinian home in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Settlers wrote graffiti on a Palestinian owned apartment in Jerusalem on Tuesday in a suspected “price tag” attack. Israeli police arrested two suspects who confessed to the vandalism charges, the official news agency Wafa said. The family had received death threats in the past from Jewish extremists, Wafa added. Hardline Jewish settlers have adopted what they call a “price tag” policy under which they have attacked Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government measures against settlements.
PA security kidnaps four Hamas members in W. Bank areas
The Palestinian authority security forces detained in recent raids four Palestinian citizens affiliated with Hamas Movement in the West Bank.
IOF soldiers round up six West Bankers
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up six Palestinians in different West Bank areas at dawn Tuesday including three young men in Doheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem.
Al-Shuntee: Israel’s installation of surveillance cameras in the rooms of female prisoners is immoral
More racist laws are on the way in Israel
Israel’s Knesset (parliament) is set to discuss a number of bills in its winter session which Palestinians regard as racist, continuing a policy of “unprecedented racist legislation in 1948 Palestine” aimed at undermining the very existence of Palestinians in their own land. As part of the “Judaisation” process, a proposed law calls for the end of Arabic as an official language of the state of Israel, a move which would marginalise ever further one-fifth of the population for whom Arabic is the mother-tongue. Indeed, Arabic was the official language of Palestine during the British Mandate period before the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe). The former head of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, has drafted the proposed law. Avi Dichter, MK for the Kadima Party, has included the language stipulation in a bill headed “Israel as the national state of the Jewish people” in collaboration with the Strategic Institute for Zionism, and supported by one-third of the Jewish members of the Knesset.
live streaming video from freedomriders at livestream.com The following statement was made at the start of the Freedom Ride protest this morning: My name is Hurriyeh Ziadah. I am the media spokeswomen for the Palestinian Freedom Rides campaign. Thank you all for being here today. Fifty years ago brave African American civil rights activists challenged the racist and unjust laws of Jim Crow by boarding buses to the segregated South, thereby embarking on a campaign of civil disobedience and direct action.
Statement of the Palestinian Freedom Riders, Jesse Bacon
As of now, 6 Palestinian Freedom Riders are about to be arrested just inside Jerusalem. Read why the Palestinian human rights activists boarded segregated buses below. My name is Hurriyeh Ziadah. I am the media spokeswomen for the Palestinian Freedom Rides campaign. Thank you all for being here today. Fifty years ago brave African American civil rights activists challenged the racist and unjust laws of Jim Crow by boarding buses to the segregated South, thereby embarking on a campaign of civil disobedience and direct action.
Freedom Riders on the West Bank?
In May 1961, 13 Freedom Riders left Washington DC on Greyhound and Trailways buses headed to New Orleans in order to directly challenge segregation in the Jim Crow South by staging mixed-race bus rides. Inspired by this action 50 years later, this Tuesday, November 15th, Palestinian Freedom Riders will be challenging the Israeli military occupation through nonviolent civil disobedience by boarding segregated Israeli public transportation headed from the West Bank to Occupied East Jerusalem.
US Freedom Riders woke a nation. Palestinian Freedom Riders must wake the world, Clarence B. Jones
Last month I was invited as a guest to a reunion of former Assistant and Deputy Attorneys General from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Pulitzer-Prize-winning civil rights historian Taylor Branch and civil rights activists Julian Bond and Robert Moses also attended. Moses had been Mississippi Field Director of Voter Registration for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee during the 1960s. The reunion was also the occasion for the celebration of the 90th birthday of John Doer, the former Civil Rights Division’s Deputy Attorney General.
Why I wanted to Challenge the Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza. In the overland five trips I have made to Gaza since March, 2009, I have seen the disastrous effect of the brutal Israeli land and sea blockade has had on the Palestinian people. I have seen the terrible level of destruction that the 2008-2009 Israeli attack wrecked on Gaza, in which 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the 22 day attack, 5,000 were wounded and 50,000 were made homeless. I was on the Gaza Freedom March in 2009 and I was a passenger on the US Boat to Gaza, the “Audacity of Hope” that was forbidden from sailing June, 2011 by the Greek government on behalf of the Israeli government.
Palestinians express solidarity to NYC ‘Occupy’ camp before raid; Activist in tweet controversy linked to Israel PR groups, Abraham Greenhouse
Sieradski has also provided professional services to groups whose core mission is to influence public opinion in support of the Israeli state by whitewashing its crimes against Palestinians. His LinkedIn profile notes his work with Israel21c, a hasbara organization which “redefines the conversation about Israel” by diverting media and public attention away from Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and instead toward it’s “vibrant diversity, humanity, creativity, innovative spirit, and responsiveness”. The organization, which has also “trained more than 1,500 Israel activists in seven US cities,” is currently headed by former AIPAC President Amy Friedkin. It should be no surprise that an “anarchist” who not only supports the concept of states, but believes “strongly” in the “need” for an ethnocratic state, in which the domination of one ethnic group over another is enshrined in law, sees no problem in aligning himself with far-right individuals and institutions when its suits his purposes.
Occupy movement cannot be silent on Israel/Palestine, say 3 Jewish groups
This is a statement from Jewish Voice for Peace-NY, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and Jews Say No! As Jewish-American organizations, we regret that right wing media outlets, organizations, and individuals have tried to undermine the Occupy Movement with unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism. We have been particularly concerned to see the conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel. Anti-Semitism is an expression of bigotry while criticism of Israel, just like an anti-capitalist or an anti-war statement, is an expression of a political position. It is important to maintain this distinction between bigotry against an ethnic or religious group and criticism of a state or its policies and actions. The Occupy space has been a consistent venue for expressions of non-violent resistance to economic injustice and other forms of government oppression, including solidarity for the occupied people of Palestine. As Jewish-Americans who endorse the goals of OWS and are committed to the struggle for justice in Israel-Palestine, we believe it would be an egregious double standard to ask the Occupy movement, which has so admirably raised the call for justice and freedom around the world, to silence itself when it comes to Israel-Palestine. Instead, we seek to ensure that space is created at OWS to speak about Israel-Palestine when appropriate and that this space is a welcoming, safe space for all people.
Finkelstein says international law is powerful weapon for boycott
Jews for Boycotting Israel Goods – The public will want to know, you are asking us to boycott until when? Until the Occupation ends, as defined in international law, or until Israel ends? If the latter, you will have no possibility of reaching beyond the people in this room.”
Israel trip divides Chicago Jewish group
Josh Nathan-Kazis – The Forward – A social service trip to Israel may seem like an innocuous program for a Jewish social service organization. But Avodah, a Chicago-based Jewish anti-poverty group, has become deeply divided by controversy over just such a trip, with some members demanding that the itinerary include the Palestinian territories and that otherwise the trip would become an act of whitewashing Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.
Labor MK and close friend of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warns of Muslim Brotherhood’s growing influence.
Reintegrating Jordan and West Bank
Jordanian officials, including King Abdullah II, have repeatedly voiced of late their frustration and despair with regard to Israel’s intransigence and anti-peace policies.
AP – Weeks after a new round of fighting with Gaza militants subsided, a senior Israeli military official said Sunday that Israel is ready and able to topple the territory’s Hamas government, though it has no immediate plans to do so.
Sarkozy pledges ‘friendship’ to Netanyahu after gaffe
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm friendship despite what he refers to as their “differing views on the Middle East,” Israeli officials said on Monday.
FBI: Anti-Muslim ‘hate crimes’ up 50 percent in U.S.
WASHINGTON — So-called “hate crimes” against Muslims rose nearly 50 percent in the United States in 2010, according to FBI statistics released Monday. The figures, part of a report on hate crimes, showed actions motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice rose to 160 in 2010 from 107 the prior year. Anti-Jewish crimes were down from the previous year at 887 incidents from 931 the previous year. The number of crimes motivated by anti-Catholic sentiment rose to 58 last year, from 51 in 2009. The total number of incidents classified as hate crimes rose marginally in 2010 to 6,628. Of the total, 47.3 percent were motivated by race and 20 percent by religion, the FBI statistics showed.
Malaysia hosts symbolic trial against Bush, Blair (AP)
AP – Malaysian-led activists plan to hold a symbolic trial this month against former President George W. Bush and British ex-leader Tony Blair on charges of committing crimes against peace in the Iraq war.
President Assad requests summit of regional bloc a day after the body votes to suspend Damascus over bloody crackdown.
Iraq official slams Arab League’s Syria suspension (AP)
AP – An Iraqi government spokesman says a decision by the Arab League to suspend Syria over the country’s bloody crackdown of an eight-month uprising may make matters worse.
Jailed UAE activists begin hunger strike
Move aimed at pressuring authorities to release activists unconditionally and halt judicial proceedings against them.
Former Treasury official Avi Jorisch talks to Ynet about US’ efforts to stifle Iran’s economy and what is stopping Obama administration from taking more drastic measures.
Iran dismisses IAEA report as ‘meaningless’
Parliament speaker likens UN agency’s assessment of atomic programme to “a copy of orders” issued by US and Israel.
Western intelligence source tells Time magazine Mossad was behind Saturday’s blast in Iranian missile base.
Iran arrests Kuwaiti spy suspects
Two Kuwaiti citizens detained in southwest Iran for “entering the country illegally and suspected espionage activities”.
Iran media cast doubt on reported suicide in Dubai
Police in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, say the death of Ahmed Rezai, son of Iranian politician Mohsen Rezai, was a suicide. News agencies in Iran say it’s suspicious. Iranian media are raising questions about the reported suicide in a Dubai, United Arab Emirates, hotel room of the son of a prominent Iranian politician and former Revolutionary Guard commander.
Lieberman: Leave Iran to international community
Speaking at Knesset committee meeting foreign minister discusses conditions for lifting Gaza blockade, relationship with Jordan. ‘Iran a challenge for international community, not just Israel,’ he says.
This is Matthew Gould, second from right, British Ambassador to Israel, who was pictured speaking at a meeting of the Leeds Zionist Federation that was also the opening of the Leeds Hasbarah Centre. The Leeds Zionist Federation is part of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, motto “Speaking Up for Israel.” A collection was made at the meeting to send packages to members of the Israeli Defence Force.
Never in the history of this country has Congress ever restricted the right of the White House or State Department to meet with representatives of a foreign state, even in wartime. If this measure passes, it will establish a dangerous precedent.
Israel’s threat to attack Iran– will Obama capitulate to that as well?, Jerome Slater
Avner Cohen is an Israeli political scientist, currently at the Monterey Institute of International Affairs. He is considered to be the world’s foremost expert on the Israeli nuclear program. His work is so accurate and authoritative, in fact, that he has come close to being arrested when returning to Israel.
Diplomatic showdown set for IAEA talks on Iran
Western powers are set for a diplomatic showdown against Russia and China at the IAEA this week, as tension mounts over the UN watchdog’s explosive report on Iran’s nuclear program. “This will be a tough one,” one senior Western official in Vienna said. “We can all see from the statements coming out of various capitals, including Moscow, that there are strong views on this issue.” The IAEA report, released last Tuesday, cited “credible” information in determining that Iran appears to have “carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”
Don`t tell me Israeli apartheid doesn`t exist. My father implemented agrarian apartheid
Udi Aloni–Richard Goldstone on Israel and apartheid (Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse/AP) I write as an Israeli Jew who was brought up and molded at the very center of secular, Zionist Israel. My parents, Reuven and Shulamit Aloni, exemplify everything that is good and just about Israel for humanistic Jews like Judge Richard Goldstone, the noted South African jurist, who in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, denied the practice of apartheid in Israel.
Playground Bullying of Palestine, Iran Must Stop, Stuart Littlewood – UK
Last Friday I had a 2-hour meeting with my MP Henry Bellingham, who is a minister in the Foreign Office. We spent much of the time discussing the Palestinian statehood question and the absurd sabre-rattling against Iran. Mr. Bellingham listened politely, saying he was more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than some within the Government. He also agreed that the best way to influence Iran was to resume trade.
Dennis Ross: The Undiplomatic History, Max Blumenthal
The Friday resignation of chief White House adviser on the Middle East Dennis Ross drew sharply contrasting reactions that reflected the sectarian, pro-Israel agenda his presence in government represented. AIPAC, the key arm of the Israel lobby, issued a rare statement hailing Ross’s legacy. “In his tireless pursuit of Middle East peace, Ambassador Ross has maintained a deep understanding of the strategic value of the US-Israel relationship and has worked vigorously to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” Rashid Khalidi, a former negotiator for the PLO who now directs the Middle East Institute of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, had a less positive take on Ross’s legacy.
Unsettled, with Amira Hass
An excerpt from my interview with Israeli journalist, Amira Hass for Guernica Magazine: When it comes to her coverage of Palestinians, Israeli journalist Amira Hass is one of a kind. Yet she blends right in at the Canadian bus station where I pick her up.
Qatar Presses Decisive Shift in Arab Politics, ANTHONY SHADID
The tiny emirate’s intentions remain murky to its neighbors and even allies — some see a Napoleon complex, others an Islamist agenda.
Lebanese Political Talk Show Rumbles: A Tentative Top Five
As regular readers will attest, I’m something of a Lebanese political talk show junkie. Shows like Kalam al-Nas, Bi-Mawdu`iyyeh, al-Fasad, and others, in my view, do a much better job of derailing politicians off their talking points than most of their counterparts in the West. In a country where the print media is largely ignored and has a marginal influence on politics, getting your message across on these weekly TV programs is a vital piece of every political party’s strategy. As a result, what one usually gets is a very lively debate between two politicians from rival parties. Occasionally, it gets ugly. The clips below are some of my favorite rumbles from the past few years, in no particular order.