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terça-feira, 29 de junho de 2010

Israel’s Updated Gaza Strip Policy – Background and Messages


Israel’s Updated Gaza Strip Policy –

Background and Messages

Political Principles

1. The guiding principle is to keep weapons, combat support measures, and terrorist operatives from entering and exiting Gaza, while letting in civilian goods and humanitarian aid that cannot be used for purposes of terrorism.

2. The policy of liberalizing the entry of civilian goods into Gaza is meant to enable the civilian population to engage in routine economic and civilian activity, while simultaneously preventing the entry of weapons and materiel that could help the Hamas terror regime to strike at Israeli citizens.

3. The principles of implementation:

· Full Israeli control over everything that enters Gaza, to prevent the infiltration of weapons, war materiel and terrorist operatives.

· The list of permitted items will be replaced with a short list of prohibited items – weapons and war materiel. Any civilian product not on the list of prohibited items will be allowed into Gaza.

· Problematic dual-use products that could also be utilized by the terror organizations will be allowed in, subject to the control mechanisms within the framework of designated projects carried out by recognized international bodies.


Rationale behind the Security Policy

1. Gaza was violently overtaken by Hamas, an extremist Islamic terrorist organization with Iranian support, which smuggles in weapons and rockets with the intent of harming Israelis, as has been proven since it came to power. Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortar bombs at Israel. It has been holding Gilad Shalit captive in total isolation for four years, while preventing the Red Cross from visiting him. Hamas has imposed an oppressive and violent rule on its own people, and has murdered and caused bodily harm to hundreds of Fatah and Palestinian Authority members in Gaza.

2. Hamas also takes over the humanitarian aid in Gaza, as was recently stated by Robert Serry, special envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General: “This targeting of NGOs, including UN partner organizations, is unacceptable, violating accepted norms of a free society and harming the Palestinian people. The de facto authorities must cease such repressive steps and allow the re-opening of these civil society institutions without delay.” See the entire article at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1006/S00084.htm

3. Hamas calls and strives for the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Jews. Following are quotes from its Charter: “…the homeland shall return [to its rightful owner], and from the top of its mosques, the [Muslim] call for prayer will ring out announcing the rise of the rule of Islam” (Article 9); “'Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!” (Article 7).

4. Hamas endangers not only Israel but also the Palestinian Authority, the peace process and all moderate elements in the region. Hamas must be prevented from strengthening Iran’s hold in this region and establishing an Iranian port in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea. This is a threat not only to Israel but to all the countries in the region.

5. The policy of closure on the Gaza Strip is anchored in international rules of law and treaties (including the Geneva Convention and the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea). The policy was also authorized by the Israel Supreme Court.


Reasons for Updating the Policy

6. The policy of easing restrictions began already several months ago, as a result of ongoing decisions by the political and security echelons. During this period, a number of such measures had already been implemented; the Secretary-General of the UN expressed his satisfaction with them following his visit to Israel and Gaza.

7. The policy regarding Gaza is updated periodically according to assessments of the situation and a variety of factors – political, security, legal, public image, and others.

8. Efforts to secure Gilad Shalit’s release are ongoing. The subject is raised at every security and political forum and discussion.

9. Collaborating with the international community is in Israel’s strategic interests. We cannot ignore the events of the past days, and Israel is working create a common basis of understanding with the international community.

10. This policy of limiting restrictions on the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip to those products that pose a clear security risk to Israel will help our friends throughout the world to increase international support for Israel’s security policy.

Background

11. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, despite Hamas’ attempts to portray one. The economic situation in Gaza is the direct result of Hamas’ rule and priorities. For example, it currently continues to prevent Gaza residents from receiving the humanitarian aid brought by the flotilla ships. Since January 2009, over one million tons of humanitarian supplies have entered Gaza from Israel (averaging almost one ton per person). Fifteen thousand tons enter the strip every week. Furthermore, hundreds of Palestinian residents of Gaza, including dozens of children, receive advanced medical treatment inside Israel.

12. Following are some interesting data on the quality of life in the Gaza Strip:

· Lifecycle: The life expectancy in the Gaza Strip (2010) is 73.68, higher than in Estonia, Malaysia, Jamaica and Bulgaria. The infant mortality rate in Gaza is 17.71 per 1000 births, lower than that of China, Jordan, Lebanon and Thailand. In Turkey, for example, life expectancy is 72.23 and its infant mortality rate is 24.84 per 1000 births.

· Communications: Some 20% of the population in Gaza have personal computers and Internet access – more than in Portugal, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Russia. In Egypt, for instance, only 1.7 people out of 100 have a computer; and in Jordan, 3.8 people.

· Approximately 70% of the residents in Gaza have television and radio, as well as satellite access.

· Eighty-one percent of the households in Gaza have access to a cellular phone.

13. Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005, to enable the Palestinians to live their lives in peace alongside Israel. At that time, all the Jewish communities and army bases were vacated, and 9,000 people living in the area were evacuated. In 2007, Hamas took over the area, seizing control from the Palestinian Authority through mass political oppression and murder. Hamas fired more than 10,000 rockets and missiles at population centers in Israel. During the operation in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead), Hamas’ attacks caused more than a million Israelis to seek refuge in shelters (one seventh of the country’s total population). Israel was forced to embark on a military campaign that drastically reduced the attacks and created deterrence. Today, Hamas continues to invest all its resources in arming itself, with Iran’s assistance. The rockets smuggled into the Gaza Strip are intended primarily for harming communities – those surrounding Gaza, Sderot, Beersheba, Ashdod, and even Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and further away. Hamas is already in possession of missiles with sufficient range. They must not be permitted to continue getting stronger.

Terminology

1. It is preferable to use the phrase “sanctions against the Hamas authorities.”

2. When necessary, use the term “closure” and not “blockade.”

3. It is recommended to use the phrase “updated policy.”

מח' מידע ואינטרנט – אגף תקשורת

20.06.2010

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