Gaza blockade set to remain in force even if Schalit freed
Gaza blockade set to rem
By YAAKOV KATZ
Israel would most likely keep the blockade of the Gaza Strip in place even if Gilad Schalit were released in the prisoner swap currently being negotiated.
Media reports had speculated that once Schalit was released, Israel would no longer have an excuse to continue imposing the blockade. In 2008, Israel facilitated the transfer of 15,275 trucks into Gaza. By the end of October, the number had already reached over 17,750.
However, all of the supplies that Israel lets into Gaza are medical and humanitarian. It does not allow in electronics or other equipment that do not fall under that category.
After Schalit was kidnapped in June 2006, Israel cited his abduction as one of the reasons behind the continued blockade.
According to senior defense officials, though, the blockade would likely remain in place following Schalit's release. This would be possible due to a resolution passed in former prime minister Ehud Olmert's cabinet in September 2007, which officially defined the Gaza Strip as a "hostile entity."
The decision legally obligates Israel to provide basic goods that would prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but nothing more. In other words, even with Schalit no longer in Gaza, Israel would still have valid grounds to maintain the blockade.
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