Monday, June 14, 2010

The Pyrrhic Victory of Jam and Halva

On Monday, Israel permitted jam, halva, and shaving razors to enter Gaza, and it has said that it is willing to allow additional foods such as coriander, cardamom, and cookies into Gaza, after banning them for three years.

Gisha is pleased to learn that coriander no longer presents a threat to Israeli security.

However, Israel continues to prevent the transfer of purely civilian goods, such as fabrics, fishing rods, and food wrappers, as part of what it calls "economic warfare" aimed at crippling Gaza's economy. In doing so, it denies 1.5 million human beings the right to engage in productive, dignified work.

It is not enough to permit Gaza residents to purchase Israeli-made cookies. Israel should stop banning raw materials such as industrial margarine and glucose, so that Gaza residents can produce their own cookies and restart the economy that has been paralyzed for three years.

International law requires Israel to allow the free passage of goods and people into and out of the Gaza Strip, subject only to individual security checks.

Additional details about the Israeli restrictions on goods coming into Gaza are available in a position paper by Gisha, titled: Restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza: Obstruction and obfuscation and in Gisha's Frequently Asked Questions on the closure.

A list of permitted and forbidden goods is available on Gisha's website.

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