Israeli document describes Gaza siege 'economic warfare'

An Israeli government document describes the blockade not as a security measure but as "economic warfare" against Gaza Strip, a report said.

Israeli document describes Gaza siege 'economic warfare'

An Israeli government document describes the blockade not as a security measure but as "economic warfare" against Gaza Strip, a report said.

Israel imposed severe bans on Gaza in June 2007, after Hamas won elections and took control of the coastal enclave after winning elections there the previous year, and the government has long said that the aim of the blockade is to stem "the flow of weapons" to fighters in Gaza.

Last week, after Israeli commandos killed nine volunteers on a Turkish-organized Gaza aid flotilla, Israel again said its aim was "to stop the flow of arms" into Gaza.

McClatchy newspaper said, a document, it obtained from Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, says the Israeli government explained the blockade as "an exercise of the right of economic warfare."

The reports aid, "a country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using 'economic warfare,'" the government said in response to a lawsuit by Gisha."

Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement sued the government for information about the blockade. The Israeli high court upheld the suit, and the government delivered its statement earlier this year.

Sari Bashi, the director of Gisha, told the report, the documents prove that Israel isn't imposing its blockade for its stated reasons, but rather as collective punishment for the Palestinian population of Gaza.

"Urgent change in Gaza siege policy"

Israel allowed some formerly banned food items into the Gaza Strip in a move that what experts see Netanyahu government hopes to escape international probe on last week's deadly raid.

Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh says Israel has lifted the ban on soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, chips, cookies and sweets.

Fattouh, head of a West Bank-based Palestinian government committee that coordinates entry of goods into the Gaza Strip from Israel, said they are Israeli-made drinks and snack food.

Fattouh said Israeli officials rebuffed Palestinian requests for construction goods, raw materials for factories to operate and medical devices.

However, Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement, say the move is meant to defuse pressure for an international investigation of the raid.

The move does not include the most-needed items in Gaza, such as cement, steel and other materials needed to build homes in the war-devastated strip.

It is reportedly considering setting up an investigative team made up of Israeli jurists and former diplomats as well as two foreign observers.

But, this would fall short of the independent, international investigation several world leaders have called for.

Maxwell Gaylard, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian territories, said the international community is seeking an "urgent and fundamental change" in Israel's policy regarding Gaza rather than a piecemeal approach.

"A modest expansion of the restrictive list of goods allowed into Gaza falls well short of what is needed. We need a fundamental change and an opening of crossings for commercial goods," he said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 10 Haziran 2010, 17:34
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