(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
said they will not let newly approved food items into the Gaza Strip as
long as Israel maintains its blockade of the territory.Before the closure of the land passages in
2007, 10,400 truckloads of goods went into Gaza each month, Bashi said.
slightly eased the blockade on Wednesday by permitting snacks, spices,
juices and some other previously banned food items into Gaza.
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Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of
goods into Gaza with Israel, said that soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving
cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted. Some
products have already entered Gaza, and others would cross in the coming
days, he said.
The ban remained in place on all construction and industrial materials.
economy minister, Ziad al-Zaza, said on Thursday that Gaza does not need
soda and soft drinks.He said it needs raw materials so shuttered
factories can start producing their own products.
officials, keen on disassociating the recent ease on the Gaza ban from last week’s flotilla raid, stressed that
Israel has steadily expanded the quantity of goods going into Gaza by
some 20 percent over the last six months, and in parallel increased
the diversity of the items allowed in.
“Our principle is clear,”
one senior official said. “To prevent weaponry and material from
reaching Gaza that could help Hamas, but at the same time to allow the
transfer of civilian goods to Gaza’s civilian population.”
official said that as long as Hamas declares war on Israel, as long
“as it considers every Israeli civilian a legitimate target,” Israel
reserved the right to maintain economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip.
are a perfectly legal and legitimate tool in a situation of conflict,”
the official said, “and whoever says it is collective punishment does
not know what they are talking about. No one can expect that business
will continue as usual with the Hamas regime.”
will not allow everything in, since Gilad Schalit is still held in Gaza
and Hamas is still attacking us,” he added.
The defense representitive said that the decision to allow new foods into Gaza was part of
a policy led by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories
Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, who has put an emphasis on working with
international organizations on civilian-related projects. Officials said
that there were currently 10 projects under way between the IDF and
various international organizations in Gaza, for which Israel was also
permitting the entry of cement and building materials.
'Israel's measures to help Gaza fall short'
according to Sari Bashi, executive director of Gisha – The Legal Center
for Freedom of Movement, the IDF measures fall far short of what the
people in Gaza need.
the past year, less than 25% of that amount has entered the Strip, an
average of 2,300 truckloads a month, she said.
When one compares
truckloads from June to November 2009 with those from December 2009 to
May 29, 2010, the increase is only 2%, she said.
Bashi said none
of the IDF measures would allow for a revival of the Gazan economy,
which would be necessary to restore normal life in the area.
government source said that by easing up on what is
Gaza, Israel aims to preserve the naval blockade.
The Gaza naval blockade is seen as critical to Israel’s national
security, and as a result – the official said – Israel was willing to be
more forthcoming regarding what goods can go overland into the area, in
order to deflect international pressure over the naval blockade.