PCHR: 5 Years and Counting: International Organizations and Donors Continue to Fund Israel’s Illegal Closure on the Gaza Strip
"As stated by the ICRC, “the dire situation in Gaza cannot be resolved by providing humanitarian aid.”25 In order to facilitate long-term development and recovery, political will and political action are required. All potential avenues that accord with humanitarian and human rights law must be pursued in order to ensure the State of Israel's compliance with international law. We call on the taxpayers of the international community to pressurize their governments, to lobby on behalf of the Palestinian people, and to ensure that their money is no longer wasted by governments willing to fund a school, but not willing to take action in response to that school’s destruction, or willing to provide food aid, but not to take action to allow for the development of a sustainable economy."
1. In mid-June 2007, Israel tightened their closure policy on the Gaza Strip, as part of a decade’s long effort to control the economy of Gaza and the movement of its people. It must be emphasized that this was just the latest effort by Israel to issue a form of collective punishment against the Gaza Strip.
2. In 2006, in spite of the Agreement on Movement and Access, which entered into force on 25 November 2005,1 Israel continued to tighten its restrictions on the movement of people and goods from and to the Gaza Strip, further pursuing a policy begun in 1991. This included closing the border crossing to Egypt. Their efforts escalated further into a total closure in mid-June 2007, so, for five years, this most extreme form of closure has been applied to the so-called ‘hostile entity’ that is the Gaza Strip, cutting off 1.7 million individuals from the outside world.
3. As part of the closure policy, Palestinians are, as a rule, prevented from entering or leaving the Gaza Strip, while severe restrictions have been placed on the import and export of goods, including fuel, food, construction materials, and medical supplies. The results include: severe shortages of essential items and materials; increasing unemployment, poverty, and aid dependency; and the de-development of the Gaza Strip.
4. The purpose of this briefing paper is to show the continued effects of the closure. The effects of Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip will not abate unless the institutionalization of the closure is stopped. As the situation currently stands, it is international organizations provide the assistance necessary for the Palestinian people to survive, despite Israel’s obligations as an Occupying Power.
5. On the fifth anniversary of the illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, it is clear that Israel cannot be allowed to continue to place restrictions on the movement of goods and individuals. It is clear that the humanitarian crisis has not abated in the Gaza Strip, despite the work of many international and non-governmental organizations. Unless the closure is lifted, it will be impossible for the people of the Gaza Strip to rebuild their lives, and to secure their fundamental human rights. As a result, it is an unfortunate truth that donors will continue to fund the closure, alleviating Israel of its responsibility as the Occupying Power, and allowing the institutionalization and perpetuation of a regime of collective punishment.