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Gaza's Dying Bamboo Crafts Industry

Business  (tags: world, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, financial crisis, bamboo crafts, culture, society, business, consumers, economy, ethics, money, news, politics, humans, Entrepreneurs )

- 1426 days ago -
Handmade bamboo furniture, which is part of the Palestinian identity, is endangered as the financial crisis is worsening in Gaza.


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Roger G (148)
Monday April 27, 2015, 1:23 pm
noted, thanks

Past Member (0)
Monday April 27, 2015, 1:36 pm
*Hamas Stole $700 Million in Aid to Gaza, Palestinian Authority Says*

Scooby S (95)
Monday April 27, 2015, 1:51 pm
So sad :(

Lone F (58)
Monday April 27, 2015, 2:08 pm
Noted - what a shame - Bamboo furniture is so beautiful. Wars ruin everything and everybody.
"He said these products have become a luxury to citizens who are now unable to provide the basic needs of their families."

Thanks for sharing Carrie!


Sheryl G (359)
Monday April 27, 2015, 2:30 pm
It is a shame when hand items become a thing of the past. As with anything, making a handmade quilt takes a lot of time, and many people with low incomes can not afford to pay what the maker needs in order to get back price of material and some of their time. It takes a lot of time to hand make items, and with the Corporate flooding many Countries with cheap industrialized furniture, people in need of a chair will go that route.

Many times people in an impoverished area can sell over the internet to those with expendable income that are in a higher income bracket, they enjoy the unique furnishings, but in his circumstances, from what I've read it is highly unlikely he can do that.

I'm not sure what Hamas has to do with the story, it is stating that he can't sell his furniture, has nothing to do with Hamas. Might be nice if the reader would actually view the story instead of throwing just anything out onto the thread.

. (0)
Monday April 27, 2015, 2:33 pm
Chutzpah indeed for our 'reader' to have the audacity to lecture others on thieving.

Past Member (0)
Monday April 27, 2015, 3:05 pm
* as the financial crisis is worsening in Gaza.*

dandy, perhaps you should.

Kathleen M (210)
Monday April 27, 2015, 4:18 pm
Sadly noted. Thanks for sharing, Carrie.

Scooby S (95)
Monday April 27, 2015, 4:22 pm
Babsy baby. I think you should go and try and be catty somewhere else cup cake.

Justin Vale (13)
Monday April 27, 2015, 5:36 pm
so we have a mystery lady on this site beating jews over the head with olive trees. but as if that isn't enough now we have another lady trying to beat them with of all things bamboo trees. now who in the world can come up with something like that? that's why i can't stop from coming back here even though i want to. where else can you see something like that? you can't make this feces up you know. no matter how creative you get you can't make it up. bamboo trees? LOL

Justin Vale (13)
Monday April 27, 2015, 5:37 pm
baghdadi dying

Justin Vale (13)
Monday April 27, 2015, 5:42 pm
big brother zionist has his wizards working on him. they're screwed if he dies. bill clinton will push two state on them. just when damascus is about to fall, and along with damascus hezbollah. baghdadi is dying. it must be a female dog to be a zionist. he got out of bed because of yarmouk and now he's back in icu. if he dies, isis fights each other. and they will accomplish what the entire world hasn't been able to. stop the muslim expansion.

Justin Vale (13)
Monday April 27, 2015, 5:47 pm
can you imagine how disgusting the diseases that are hamas and fatah are that the world most vicious killer. the great beheader. the invisible jihadist. the caliph of all muslim. has to put his life in danger for the sake of the suffering children of yarmouk when the children themselves are being used as shields by hamas and fatah. and they allowed other militant groups to use their kids as shields against isis too. don't ever forget yarmouk. when you defend the hamas and fatah cause remember that clockwork orange left because those you defend put their own children in danger.

Justin Vale (13)
Monday April 27, 2015, 5:52 pm
idf troops have used children as shields. but since the 80's you will not find one instance of an idf REGULAR doing that. the conscripts called up in emergency are always the ones that do it. always. it's a small country. they draft everybody. even the ill suited. also remember that when you defend hamas. idf soldiers put their lives in danger and at dangerous risk for not only palestinian kids but for african refugees. remember all these things when you stand side by side with hamas and fatah.

. (0)
Monday April 27, 2015, 5:55 pm
Tell me - just when was it that you last visited Planet Earth?

fly bird (26)
Monday April 27, 2015, 7:45 pm
Some won't separate the wheat from the chaff.... hideous, hollow souls, lacking conscience, surviving, by lying to themselves, manic to have others believe connivances, deceptions and hypocrisy, that they, alone, profit from -- standing at the counting house, eying every penny, hand out, victim playing, while denying others their rights, robbing them blind and killing them, drop by drop.
Not the 'light of the world', only repulsive obsession and greed.

To those, who shine light for truth and justice, for all - they are light and hope of the world.
Thank you, Carrie for this post.

Thks Carrie.

Gloria p (304)
Monday April 27, 2015, 8:16 pm
I was at a wine bar the other day that had updated bamboo bar stools instead of the same old thing.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Monday April 27, 2015, 11:30 pm
Junior School was let out early I see.

Sad and tragic
Thanks Carrie.

Bruce C D (89)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 2:03 am
Sad and tragic, yes, but also outrageous that this is just the latest casualty in Zionism's inexorable obliteration of Palestinian culture and heritage.

Sheryl G (359)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 3:54 am
I pay no attention to those who can LAUGH over children being blown to pieces. I don't care who the child belongs to or what Country. Laughing over children's deaths is heartless. Those without hearts are pitied for their lack of humanity; but I have no ears or eyes for the Heartless Ones.

Not that anyone needs proof but if one wanted to see for themselves they can go to link below. And yes, those without hearts it is a waste of time most of the time....but we still hope that some shred of empathy will crack a heart of steel.
Powerful Rock Music Video We Exist

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:06 am
dandy, just who do you think is laughing? I feel terrible for what hamas/plo/pa/fatah is doing to palestinian children ~ the ones under 10yrs who aren't wielding knives, rocks, and cocktails.

Lona G (66)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:33 am
I didn't know there had been a flourishing bamboo crafts industry in Gaza in the past, but then most items seem to have made for the local Palestinian market. Now Gaza has been bled dry by destruction, isolation and blockade, all local industry and retail business, including cultural arts and crafts, are under extreme pressure. Material is hard to come by and therefore far to expensive, productivity is at an all time low because of this and the power shortages and people can't afford anything but the most basic necessities. We've already learned from other articles Carrie posted that people have to sell their belongings to buy food. Buying furniture isn't on their list. This is yet another example on how Gaza is economically spiraling down fast despite all the help that was promised Gaza to rebuild. I can no longer believe that this isn't exactly what Israel is trying to achieve with its blockade.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:59 am
The *blockade* is a WEAPONS blockade which is not only legal, but required under international laws. gaza is receiving tons of supplies and over 500 trucks a day of building materials from Israeli ports. Israel is supplying their water and electricity ~ contrary to your beliefs ~ which is NOT required by international laws.


Carol R (11)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 8:34 am
Thanks Carrie.

Nearly 50 Aid Agencies Charge International Community Failing People of Gaza

Just six months after donors from around the world pledged $3.5 billion towards the rebuilding of Gaza, following Israel's 51-day military assault last summer, only 26.8 percent of these funds have been disbursed, reconstruction has "barely begun," and the civilian population remains strangled by an economic and military siege.

The Association of International Development Agencies delivered this devastating indictment in a report released Monday, entitled Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza (pdf).

Forty-six humanitarian organizations from across the globe signed onto the findings of the report, which was published six months after an October 2014 conference in Cairo At the conference, attended by representatives of over 60 countries and chaired by Norway, governments committed funds for Gaza's reconstruction and recovery following the devastating attacks.

Israel's ground invasion and air bombardments—termed "Operation Protective Edge"—killed an estimated 2,134 Palestinians, approximately 70 percent of whom were civilians. Seventy-one Israelis were also killed in the conflict, including five civilians.

Gaza's civilian infrastructure, furthermore, was decimated in the attack, which damaged over 160,000 homes, 20,000 meters of water pipelines, and 30 percent of agricultural lands. At least 14 health facilities and eight schools were completely destroyed, and Gaza's only power plant was targeted in the bombings, leading to ongoing electricity shortages.

In the face of this large-scale destruction, the international community has so far failed to deliver on its recovery promises, the report charges.

"The promising speeches at the donor conference have turned into empty words," said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam, a signatory to the report. "There has been little rebuilding, no permanent ceasefire agreement and no plan to end the blockade. The international community is walking with eyes wide open into the next avoidable conflict, by upholding the status quo they themselves said must change."

And, even when funds do get in, reconstruction projects stall, or do not begin at all, because the blockade prevents materials from reaching Gaza.

"Most of the 81 health clinics and hospitals that were damaged still lack funds for reconstruction, but the few that have funds do not have the material needed to proceed," notes a report summary.

In addition, an estimated 100,000 people in Gaza are homeless, and not one of the 19,000 homes destroyed in the war has been rebuilt.

Furthermore, the report charges, there has been "no accountability to address violations of international law" and the international community has not posed a meaningful challenge to the siege itself.

As many have argued, international aid is a pittance as long as global super-powers like the United States throw their political and financial backing behind Israel's siege of Gaza, home to 1.8 million people and one of the most densely-populated places on earth.

The report urges, "The international community, in particular the (Middle East diplomatic) Quartet of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN, should propose a time-bound plan to support an end to the blockade."

Tony Laurance, CEO of MAP UK, another signatory to the report, declared, “The world is shutting its eyes and ears to the people of Gaza when they need it most. Reconstruction cannot happen without funds, but money alone will not be enough. With the blockade in place we are just reconstructing a life of misery, poverty and despair."

Sheryl G (359)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 9:19 am
Oh so you only feel badly when hamas kill children and not when Israel does. I see. Selective crying. Selective laughing.

Again, this thread was hijacked by bringing in hamas which THIS article had nothing to do with.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 10:38 am
dandy, no need to put twisted words in my mouth. I'm perfectly capable of joining syllables into rational and semantically correct words and sentences.

hamas/plo/pa/fatah/palestinians are the cause of the *financial crisis which is worsening in Gaza* Without that basic fact you would HAVE no article..

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 12:09 pm
Dandelion - Thanks for posting this

Export of bamboo furniture can only be perceived as contributing to bombs by those with their heads inserted somewhere undesirable - These craftsmen might be able to compensate for local lack of means to purchase furniture (or lack of sold four-wall & roof homes to put furniture in) by exporting - because yes, there is a Western market for such furniture. And such exports could help the local economy ....

And why aren't homes - and factories - rebuilt? Because the supplies have to be imported, and very very little has been allowed in through the only "open" frontier checkpoint. Of course, the suppliers paid for the cememnt etc are Israeli companies - (vive wars agains Gaza that lead to reconstruction, because what little goes in pays the same people as who knocked homes down - again, and again, and again!).

The mantra much loved by pro-Zionists is "we can't allow more through, Hamas will misuse" - but the international community has proposed tight controls ... in reality, materials would be used for reconstruction as planned, under neutral supervision (but not under Israeli/IDF supervision within Gaza - understandably, because that wouldn't be neutral)

But Israel doesn't want reconstruction. Israel wants those in the open air prison to suffer so much that they finally seek to flee - and that way, Gaza could be ethnically cleansed. Then taken over. Some excuse could be found for a final operation to wipe out the last people ...... But the Palestinians love Palestine - and many realise they'd be doing Israel a favour by trying to flee from Gaza ...

So they hang on, and they try to hang on to their traditional craft skills.

I wonder if anyone is still making Gaza rugs? They were simple and beautiful - but I've seen & heard nothing of them - again, a luxury for those with temporary shelter, & export being largely blocked. I do hope that the skills haven't been lost.

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 12:13 pm
Sorry, Carrie - I meant thanks Carrie for posting - and Dandelion (among others) for valid comments!

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 12:23 pm
It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Bruce C D (89)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 3:24 pm
Such a shame the hasbara never heeds its own advice, although I suppose if taken literally that they are in this instance.

Of course, as widely recognized by human rights groups and nations around the world, Israel's blockade goes far beyond security needs and is nothing less than imposing collective punishment upon a civilian population -- 60% of them children -- which is illegal under International Law. It is used as a blunt political weapon by Israel and now also Egypt under its new dictatorship. There is absolutely no security justification for Israel's prohibitions against chocolate, lentils, jam, tea, rice, sugar, beans, coffee, cookies, powdered milk, vital medicines, and other sundry items to numerous to mention. Ironically and hypocritically, while the Israel Supreme Court recently upheld a misguided Israeli law outlawing BDS, the Israeli government engages in economic warfare against the people of Gaza on a much more massive scale.

•Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza are central pillars of a policy of economic warfare intended to punish the entire population of the tiny, occupied coastal strip in the hopes that Palestinians living there will blame Hamas for their predicament and reject the organization as well as any resistance to Israel’s continued control of the territory. As noted by the UN and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, this amounts to collective punishment, which is a violation of international law. (See below for more on the legal status of the blockade and siege.)
•In early 2006, Dov Weisglass, then a senior advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained that Israeli policy was designed “to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” In 2012 it was revealed that in early 2008 Israeli authorities drew up a document calculating the minimum caloric intake necessary for Palestinians to avoid malnutrition so Israel could limit the amount of foodstuffs allowed into Gaza without causing outright starvation.

•Since 1991, Israel has made it increasingly difficult for Palestinians and commercial goods to enter or leave Gaza. Following Israel’s withdrawal of settlers from Gaza in 2005 and Hamas’ victory in Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections in 2006, restrictions on the movement of people, goods, and supplies were further tightened as Israel implemented a siege and naval blockade on Gaza in conjunction with Egypt. In doing so, Israel has deepened the separation it began imposing between Gaza, the West Bank and the rest of the outside world during the 1990s, in violation of the Oslo Accords, which specified that the occupied Palestinian territories should be treated as one territorial unit.
•Since 2000, Israel has prevented students in Gaza from traveling to study at universities in the West Bank, some of which offer fields of study and degrees not available in Gaza. According to a report from Haaretz newspaper, between 2000 and 2012 Israel let just three Gazans travel to study at universities in the West Bank, all of whom had received US government scholarships. (See fact sheet here for more on Israel’s violations of Palestinian academic freedom and right to education.)

According to Israeli human rights organization Gisha, as of July 9, 2014, before Israel’s latest assault on Gaza began:
•More than 70% of the population of Gaza received humanitarian aid.
•The official unemployment figure as of the first quarter of 2014 was 40.8%, compared to 18.7% in 2000.
•From January to June, Israel allowed an average of 17 truckloads of exported goods to leave Gaza each month, less than 2% of what exited monthly before 2007.
•Israel prevents access to a “buffer zone” beginning 300 meters (328 yards) from the boundary line between Israel and Gaza, denying Palestinian farmers access large parts of Gaza’s already scarce arable land.
•As of July 6, 2014, Israel limited fishing in Gaza’s territorial waters to just three nautical miles off the coast, barring Palestinian fishermen from reaching fertile fishing grounds further out in violation of the terms of the Oslo Accords, which stipulated a fishing limit of 20 nautical miles.

According to a 2012 joint report by Save the Children and UK-based Medical Aid for Palestinians:
•10% of children under five experienced stunted growth due to prolonged malnutrition due to the blockade and siege.
•58.6% of Gaza’s schoolchildren were anemic, as were more than 68% of children aged nine to 12 months and nearly 37% of pregnant women.
•According to UNICEF, more than 90% of the water from Gaza’s only aquifer is unsafe for human consumption due to pollution, while repairs to Gaza’s sewage and water infrastructure cannot be carried out because of Israeli restrictions on the entry of building materials and equipment.
•Gaza suffered from severe shortages of electricity due to Israeli restrictions on imports of equipment needed to replace and repair the electrical infrastructure, even before Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant during its latest assault.

In August 2012, the UN released a report entitled Gaza in 2020: A Liveable Place?, which noted that unless Israel ended its siege and urgent action was taken to reverse its effects:

“[By 2020 there] will be virtually no reliable access to sources of safe drinking water, standards of healthcare and education will have continued to decline, and the vision of affordable and reliable electricity for all will have become a distant memory for most. The already high number of poor, marginalized and food-insecure people depending on assistance will not have changed, and in all likelihood will have increased.”

•So-called “dual use items” that can be used for military or civilian purposes, such as steel and cement, much needed for construction and the reconstruction of homes and other structures destroyed by the Israeli military during this most recent and past military attacks. (Prior to Israel’s latest assault on Gaza there were 12,000 Palestinians still displaced from Israel’s 2008-2009 attack, Operation Cast Lead.)
•Exports of produce and commercial goods from Gaza are banned or severely restricted.

•Food items such as pasta, flour, yeast, rice, salt, sugar, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, cooking oil, tea, instant coffee, chick peas, lentils, beans, olives, cookies, canned tuna, and powdered milk,
•Sanitary items such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, diapers, baby wipes, detergent, and dish-washing liquid.
•School supplies such as textbooks, writing paper, notebooks, and pens.
•Fuel, seeds, plastic irrigation piping and other agricultural supplies and equipment.

•Between 1967, when Israel began its military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 1993, Palestinians in Gaza were able to travel with few restrictions inside Israel and the rest of the occupied territories.
•Starting in 1991, and accelerating following the signing of the first of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Israel began to restrict the movement of Palestinians in Gaza, requiring a difficult to obtain permit to travel or work inside Israel. Israel also began to impose a separation between Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem, even though the terms of the Oslo Accords stipulated that they all be treated as one political entity.
•In 2005, after concluding that maintaining Israel’s illegal colonies in crowded and difficult to control Gaza wasn’t worth the cost, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew Israeli soldiers and approximately 8000 Jewish settlers from the interior of Gaza as part of the so-called “disengagement plan.” Refusing to coordinate with either Hamas or the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, Sharon hoped his unilateral move would alleviate growing international pressure on him to negotiate for the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the occupied territories, allowing Israel to continue colonizing the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. As Sharon’s senior advisor and one of the architects of the disengagement plan, Dov Weisglass, explained to an interviewer in 2004, the withdrawal was designed to put the peace process in “formaldehyde,” stating: "The disengagement is actually formaldehyde… It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” (See here for full quote.)
•Following the withdrawal of settlers, in November 2005 Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed the Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA), which was supposed to facilitate greater movement into and out of Gaza for people and goods. However, Israel proceeded to violate its obligations under the AMA, maintaining strict controls over Gaza’s entry points, effectively locking the door to Gaza and throwing away the key. According to a November 2006 United Nations report, a year after the AMA was signed, “the ability of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip to access either the West Bank or the outside world remains extremely limited and the flow of commercial trade is negligible.” The report continued:

“There has been no peaceful economic development as envisaged by the AMA but rather a deterioration in the humanitarian situation and an increase in violence overall. The increased closure of Gaza’s crossing points has contributed to the worsening of the economic situation over the last 12 months.”
•In January 2006, Hamas won elections for the Palestinian Authority legislature, following which Israel began to tighten its restrictions on Gaza further. The next year, after undermining a Palestinian Authority Fatah-Hamas unity government the United States and Israel encouraged Fatah to launch what amounted to a coup attempt against the Hamas-dominated PA in Gaza, resulting in a brief but bloody struggle in which Hamas routed Fatah forces and took complete internal control of Gaza. Following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, Israel instituted additional restrictions on Gaza, including a naval blockade. (See below for more on the legal status of the blockade.) In early 2006, Dov Weisglass, then a senior advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, explained that Israel’s policy towards Gaza was designed “to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” In September 2007, Olmert’s government further tightened restrictions Gaza and prohibited the export of all goods.
•In 2012, following a protracted legal battle waged by Israeli human rights group Gisha, the Israeli government released a confidential document produced in 2008 detailing how Israeli officials had been calculating the minimum caloric intake needed to keep Gazans from starving while maintaining strict control over the import of food. According to Haaretz newspaper:

“The ‘red lines’ document calculates the minimum number of calories needed by every age and gender group in Gaza, then uses this to determine the quantity of staple foods that must be allowed into the Strip every day, as well as the number of trucks needed to carry this quantity. On average, the minimum worked out to 2,279 calories per person per day, which could be supplied by 1,836 grams of food, or 2,575.5 tons of food for the entire population of Gaza.”

“Robert Turner, UNRWA's director of operations in the Gaza Strip, told Haaretz that he ‘read the draft with concern. If this reflects an authentic policy intended to cap food imports, this “red lines” approach is contrary to humanitarian principles. If it is intended to prevent a humanitarian crisis by setting a minimum threshold, it has failed.’

“UNRWA, as the UN agency responsible for aiding Palestinian refugees, is closely involved in the daily lives of some 1 million residents of the Gaza Strip. Based on this knowledge, Turner asserted that 'the facts on the ground in Gaza demonstrate that food imports consistently fell below the red lines.’”

•In September 2011, the UN released the so-called Palmer Report on Israel’s attack against the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010, which killed nine Turkish activists, including 18-year-old US-citizen Furkan Dogan. The report deemed Israel’s blockade legal, however it was widely considered to be a politicized whitewash and contained the crucial caveat that “its conclusions can not be considered definitive in either fact or law."
•Also in September 2011, shortly after the Palmer Report was released, an independent UN panel of experts released a report concluding that Israel’s blockade of Gaza does indeed violate international law, stating that it amounts to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.” In reference to Palmer, the independent experts wrote:

“In pronouncing itself on the legality of the naval blockade, the Palmer Report does not recognize the naval blockade as an integral part of Israel's closure policy towards Gaza which has a disproportionate impact on the human rights of civilians.”
•Human rights and humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross also consider the blockade and siege to be acts of collective punishment that contravene international law.
•A 2009 Amnesty International report following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s devastating military assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, stated:

“The prolonged blockade of Gaza, which had already been in place for some 18 months before the current fighting began, amounts to collective punishment of its entire population.

“The Fourth Geneva Convention specifically prohibits collective punishment. Its Article 33 provides: ‘No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.’”
•A June 2010 statement issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross entitled “Gaza closure: not another year!” noted:

“The whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law.”
•Also in June 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned the blockade as a form of collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza, stating: "I have consistently reported to member states that the blockade is illegal and must be lifted."
•In September 2010, a UN fact-finding mission into Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla concluded:

“The Mission considers that one of the principal motives behind the imposition of the blockade was a desire to punish the people of the Gaza Strip for having elected Hamas. The combination of this motive and the effect of the restrictions on the Gaza Strip leave no doubt that Israel’s actions and policies amount to collective punishment as defined by international law. In this connection, the Mission supports the findings of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and most recently the ICRC that the blockade amounts to collective punishment in violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.”
•In June 2012, a group of 50 international aid agencies, including the World Health Organization and Oxfam, called on Israel to lift its siege and blockade of Gaza, stating:

“For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children. We the undersigned say with one voice: ‘end the blockade now.’”

•While Hamas nominally controls most of the territory inside the tiny Gaza Strip, Gaza remains under overall Israeli military occupation according to international law. Although Israel withdrew its soldiers and some 8000 settlers from the interior of Gaza in 2005, it continues to control virtually all entry and exit, as well as Gaza's airspace and coastline, therefore retaining "unconsented-to effective control," the legal definition for qualifying as an occupying power.
•Israel's continuing status as an occupying power in Gaza has been affirmed by the United Nations and international humanitarian and human rights organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, as well as the U.S. State Department.
•According to an October 2004 Human Rights Watch statement entitled “Israel: 'Disengagement' Will Not End Gaza Occupation”:

“The Israeli government’s plan to remove troops and Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip would not end Israel’s occupation of the territory. As an occupying power, Israel will retain responsibility for the welfare of Gaza’s civilian population.”

"Under international law, the test for determining whether an occupation exists is effective control by a hostile army, not the positioning of troops... Whether the Israeli army is inside Gaza or redeployed around its periphery and restricting entrance and exit, it remains in control."

Bruce C D (89)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 3:28 pm
Gaza: Donors, UN Should Press Israel on Blockade
Punitive Restrictions on Population Undermine Reconstruction
(Jerusalem) – Donor countries at the October 12, 2014 conference on assistance to Palestine should press Israel to lift sweeping, unjustified restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Security Council should reinforce previous resolutions ignored by Israel calling for the removal of unjustified restrictions.

Blanket Israeli restrictions unconnected or disproportionate to security considerations unnecessarily harm people’s access to food, water, education, and other fundamental rights in Gaza. Israel’s unwillingness to lift such restrictions will seriously hinder a sustainable recovery after a seven-year blockade and the July-August fighting that damaged much of Gaza, Human Rights Watch said.

“Donors who keep footing the bill to rebuild Gaza should insist that Israel lift unjustified restrictions that are worsening a grim humanitarian situation and needlessly punishing civilians,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “The Security Council needs to condemn Israeli restrictions that are unnecessary for security.”

Israel’s blockade of Gaza, reinforced by Egypt, has largely prevented the export and import of commercial and agricultural goods, crippling Gaza’s economy, as well as travel for personal, educational, and health reasons. The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the health and wellbeing of Gaza’s civilians, curtailing the delivery of food, medicine, fuel, and other necessities. Hundreds of thousands of people have little or no access to clean water. Hospitals, even before the recent fighting, were desperately overstretched. To the extent that the blockade went beyond justifications of military necessity, it constitutes unlawful collective punishment of the civilian population.

Israel has sought to justify its broad restrictions by citing security concerns. Since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000, Israel has imposed blanket restrictions banning Palestinians in Gaza from traveling to the West Bank – including to study, work, or reunite with their families – instead of assessing any security concerns with individual checks. Since Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007, Israel has generally barred imports of steel rebar, gravel, and cement, which it considers “dual-use goods” that can be diverted for military uses. Palestinian armed groups did use building materials smuggled from Egypt to build military tunnels into Israel, but Israel’s security concerns could be met by a monitoring regime rather than a blanket prohibition on imports, Human Rights Watch said.

The hostilities in July and August significantly worsened a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. They left 108,000 people homeless, completely destroyed 26 schools and 4 primary health centers, and destroyed or damaged 350 businesses and 17,000 hectares of agricultural land, according to a UN assessment. Unemployment in Gaza, already at 45 percent, climbed even higher since the fighting, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported.

Apparent Israeli attacks that repeatedly hit Gaza’s only power plant left it inoperable. Even when it was operating, fuel shortages triggered rolling power outages of up to 12 hours per day; current outages last 18 hours per day. Attacks also destroyed or damaged two major sewage treatment plants and 20 to 30 percent of sewage and water networks, leaving nearly half a million people without running water.

The Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas, based in the West Bank, prepared a reconstruction plan for Gaza that will be the basis for many donor pledges at the October 12 conference, to be held in Cairo. Separately, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is seeking to raise another US$570 million to meet its goal of nearly $1 billion to meet Gaza’s needs.

The only proposed change to Israeli restrictions on Gaza since the recent fighting relates to imports of construction materials for the private market. In mid-September, the Israeli and Palestinian governments agreed to a UN-assisted “temporary mechanism” to transfer construction materials into Gaza and ensure they are used for civilian purposes. Under the agreement, the Palestinian government will purchase construction materials from pre-approved vendors, track the materials from their source to secured warehouses to their destination, and update all information in a database accessible to Israeli authorities.

However, even if the agreement is implemented and achieves its stated goals of facilitating the construction of 5000 housing units and 120 other projects, it will still be grossly insufficient to meet Gaza’s reconstruction needs, Human Rights Watch said. In addition, the agreement would facilitate import materials to reconstruct water, sanitation, and power infrastructure, but does not address the need for a regular, sustained supply of water, fuel, and electricity to function.

The agreement also does not address the wider restrictions on the movement of people and goods imposed by Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. That includes a near-total ban on exports enforced by both Israel and Egypt which has crippled the economy, and a prohibition on almost all Gaza residents moving to or even visiting the West Bank.

“There is no plan on the table that adequately meets the basic needs of Gaza’s population, much less envisions a sustainable Gaza that is not perilously dependent on foreign donations,” Whitson said. “Donors should stop acquiescing to unjustified Israeli restrictions and insist on reconstruction plans that can be reasonably expected to meet Gaza’s humanitarian needs.”

Under international law, parties to an armed conflict that commit violations of the laws of war may be responsible to states or individuals for reparations for damage done. Donor-funded projects were among those destroyed or damaged in the recent fighting; donors should assess the damage caused by unlawful attacks and press the party responsible to pay for compensation and reconstruction. Such reparations could assist in the funding of new projects and deter future unlawful attacks, Human Rights Watch said.

The Security Council and other inter-governmental bodies have long called on Israel to ease its restrictions on Gaza. On August 15, European Union foreign ministers called for “a fundamental improvement in the living conditions for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip through the lifting of the Gaza closure regime.”

The US government, which opposes the Hamas government in Gaza, has been reluctant to press Israel to lift the blockade. However, the Obama administration has said that returning to the status quo in Gaza would be unsustainable. Secretary of State John Kerry said on August 1 that Palestinians in Gaza “need to be able to ... move freely and share in the rest of the world, and to lead a life that is different from the one they have long suffered.”

The UN Security Council and donors should condemn Israel’s punitive closure regime and press Israel to tailor restrictions narrowly to explicit security needs, Human Rights Watch said. The Security Council and donors should press Israel and Egypt to allow the import of construction materials needed for reconstruction subject to monitoring, reverse the near-total blocking of exports from Gaza, and lift travel prohibitions against Gaza residents who pose no security risk. The Security Council should reinforce previous resolutions calling for the removal of unjustified restrictions that Israel has ignored. It should require Israel to pay compensation and reconstruction costs for civilian property, including internationally funded projects, that Israeli forces destroyed or damaged in unlawful attacks.

“US opposition to Hamas has long been allowed to trump concern for Israel’s punitive blockade of Gaza,” Whitson said. “As Israel’s closest ally and current president of the Security Council, the US should ensure that the current ceasefire translates into genuine relief for Gaza’s civilians.”

Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

Implementing the Ceasefire
The Israel-Hamas ceasefire announced on August 26, 2014, provides an opportunity to end Israel’s punitive measures against Gaza’s civilian population. Israel committed to allow humanitarian aid and reconstruction material into Gaza and to re-extend the fishing zone to six nautical miles off the coast.

Israel made virtually the same commitments after the previous round of fighting in November 2012, but then re-imposed a broad closure. The absence of condemnation from Israel’s US and EU allies has helped create an environment in which Israel can maintain the blockade without cost.

Punitive Restrictions
Israel grants permits allowing Gaza residents to exit through Erez crossing point only in the case of “exceptional humanitarian situations,” according to government policy, and to a small number of businesspeople. An average of fewer than 200 people per day were allowed out of Gaza via Israel in the first half of 2014, compared with 26,000 in the equivalent period of 2000, before the second Intifada, according to official Israeli and Palestinian data compiled by Gisha, an Israeli rights group. Israel has permitted only three students from Gaza to study in the West Bank in the past 14 years. For most of that time, Israel has also refused to process applications of residents of Gaza requesting to join spouses and family members in the West Bank.

In 2010, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, Eitan Dangot, acknowledged that the purpose of Israel’s policy blocking the movement of Palestinians from Gaza to the West Bank was to pressure Hamas and support the Palestinian Authority.

Egypt’s military-backed government tightened restrictions on the movement of Palestinians through the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai after it took power in July 2013, cutting the number of Gaza residents passing through the crossing by two-thirds, to an average of 6,444 per month in the first half of 2014, according to Gisha.

All movement of goods from Israel to Gaza takes place at Kerem Shalom crossing point. Israel tightly restricts the types and amount of goods that may enter Gaza, and currently allows construction materials to be brought in by only international organizations. Israel bans the sale of goods from Gaza in the West Bank and Israel.

At various times since Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, Israeli military authorities have limited the “daily humanitarian portion” of food they calculated that Gaza’s residents need, apparently following a policy to “put them on a diet,” as one senior Israeli official said in 2006. Israel has banned or restricted imports of items that pose no conceivable threat to Israeli security, including, among many others: tea, jam, lentils, and other goods it deemed “luxury items”; cooking gas; and radiotherapy equipment and medicines used in cancer treatments. It unjustifiably delayed for months or years imports of spare parts needed to repair Gaza’s damaged and decrepit electricity grid.

Years of Israeli restrictions, and Egypt’s destruction in 2013 of nearly all the smuggling tunnels that had been used to supply Gaza with many commercial goods, had a devastating impact on Gaza’s economy. As of June 2014, more than half of Gaza households were unable to obtain adequate food – even though two-thirds of Gaza residents received food assistance, according to OCHA. The UN reported before the recent fighting that the contamination of Gaza’s aquifer, its rapidly growing population, its decrepit infrastructure, and other factors, meant it would not be “a livable place” by 2020.

In 2010 Israel agreed to ease some restrictions – including on imports of food – under international pressure following the killing by Israeli forces of nine civilians on a ship trying to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. However, OCHA found that the reforms did not lead to any “significant improvement” for Gaza residents. Some measures were too modest, while others were never implemented. Israel left in place restrictions on Gaza exports to the West Bank and Israel.

Restrictions on Construction Materials
On September 16, 2014, the UN special coordinator in the region, Robert Serry, told the Security Council that Israel and the Palestinian Authority had agreed to a “temporary mechanism” for delivering increased reconstruction materials to Gaza under UN monitoring.

The agreement’s annex states an intention to facilitate the construction of 5,000 housing units and 120 larger projects, such as factories and schools, over one year. Approximately 18,000 homes are uninhabitable from the recent fighting, and another 5,000 homes that had been destroyed during previous Israeli military operations were never rebuilt. Population growth in Gaza has created a shortage of 71,000 additional homes and 250 schools, according to UN estimates. The agreement would facilitate import materials to reconstruct water, sanitation, and power infrastructure, but does not address the need for a regular, sustained supply of water, fuel and, electricity to function.

The agreement requires the UN and the Palestinian government to satisfy Israel’s concerns that construction materials are not diverted for military purposes, but does not place any responsibility on Israel to ensure that civilian construction needs are fulfilled. Under the agreement, the UN, the Palestinian government, and Palestinian businesses are required to track construction materials at each step – from source, transfer, and storage to end-use for an intended civilian purpose – ensuring Israel’s security concerns are met.

But the agreement grants the Israeli authorities discretion to deny imports to Gaza, and does not contain an enforcement or dispute-resolution mechanism to deal with wrongful rejection of goods by Israel. Nor does the agreement require Israel to increase capacity at Kerem Shalom, the sole operating crossing point for imports of construction materials into Gaza, or address Israel’s other restrictions on Gaza. Under the agreement, Israel effectively retains the authority to determine what can be built in Gaza.

Israel already requires end-use monitoring for the building materials it allows donors to import to Gaza for humanitarian projects. However, Israel took an average of 19 months to approve humanitarian construction projects, and it froze dozens of such plans for years, according to the UN. If Israel permitted its one commercial crossing with Gaza to import the maximum current capacity of construction materials, it would take Gaza 20 years to adequately address its housing needs after the recent conflict, without accounting for population growth, humanitarian agencies that focus on shelter and housing reported.

A recent EuropeAid evaluation of EU development support to Palestine concluded that the EU’s flow of aid – €2.5 billion over the last five years – “has reached its limits in the absence of a parallel political track” that addresses these and other constraints.

A fundamental change in Israeli policy, rather than exceptional emergency measures, is needed for donor countries to confidently contribute to Gaza’s reconstruction, since unexpected Israeli restrictions undermine international investment in Gaza, Human Rights Watch said.

Restrictions on Exports
Gaza’s economy formerly relied on exports to Israel and the West Bank. After Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, Israel restricted exports, and barred them altogether after Hamas violently retained control over Gaza in 2007. Monthly exports from Gaza during the first half of 2014 amounted to less than 1 percent of levels before 2006.

Since 2010, Israel has allowed only an extremely limited amount of goods produced in Gaza to transit through Israel en route to third markets. It does not, however, allow access to those same goods to Israeli or West Bank markets, in order to “separate Gaza from West Bank merchants, who are allowed to sell in Israel” or to prevent Hamas from “hid[ing] things in the merchandise that scanners can’t detect.”

Donor countries, including the Netherlands and the US, have donated advanced scanning equipment to allow relatively rapid monitoring of goods at Gaza’s border crossing to ensure military materiel is not smuggled in or out. Yet Israel refused to use these scanners to allow Gaza exports, because doing so would contradict Israel’s policy of isolating Gaza from the West Bank, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, which cited “Defense Ministry officials.”

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 3:44 pm
There are no unjustified restrictions.

Bruce C D (89)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:03 pm
A perfect example of Zionist racism by our resident hasbara:

"....palestinian children ~ the ones under 10yrs who aren't wielding knives, rocks, and cocktails."

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:08 pm
You think that's racism? Try living with it instead of in a safe, secure, cozy lil suburb relaxing in your armchair and pontificating.

Bruce C D (89)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:29 pm
Care2's Code of Conduct:

"'Hate messages' - No member may post or email 'hate' messages. This includes any messages that may incite violence toward someone because of their age, disability, gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation, including:
Advocating violence or aggression against persons because they are a member of any of the above categories.
Implying or stating that members of one of these categories 'deserve' or 'earned' death or violence towards them.
Degrading or insulting whole classes of people, or using such statements to justify actions taken against them."

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:32 pm
Oh, and BTW, what is it YOU say about Jews and Israelis, hmmmm????

. (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 5:33 pm
What did you have in mind?

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 5:48 pm
I had in mind an answer from brucie.

Carrie B (306)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 5:55 pm
Earl made one untoward comment which pales in comparison to the many name calling tirades you have engaged in, Barbara, so your insinuation that Bruce's comment was directed at him is laughable.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 6:32 pm
One untoward comment?? We'll see......................

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 6:33 pm
And, BTW, I'm blonde, I'm not stupid. I understood the comment far better than you, dearie.

Carrie B (306)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 10:13 pm
Well my fair-haired friend, you may not be stupid, but you certainly DON'T understand as much as you might think you do.

fly bird (26)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 10:33 pm
Thanks for the article. This is more of the evil destruction of the siege, compounded by the illegal Israeli occupation and last 3 assaults and massacres of Gaza.
Bee farming and livelihoods in Gaza, were also, severely, damaged. Honey production/bee population, devastated, from shelling.

Some 'dyed blondes' like to say they're blonde - kind of weird, self obsessive with eye/hair colour .. That's supposed to be significant, prove something... LOL, what next.


Past Member (0)
Wednesday April 29, 2015, 4:37 am
Neurons inflaming hatred and jealousy? Comes from sittin' in armchairs in safe, secure Little Suburbia pontificating on fantacized injustices fueled by hamasbara propaganda.

. (0)
Wednesday April 29, 2015, 6:53 am
Interesting that. It's always "hatred and jealousy" but never YOU - IS IT?

Carrie B (306)
Wednesday April 29, 2015, 1:18 pm
A million green stars to you, Earl!

Arild Gone for now (174)
Sunday May 3, 2015, 2:59 am
Unfortunately bd hijacked a post about the reality of Zionist's policy,thanks Carrie.

Past Member (0)
Sunday May 3, 2015, 7:37 am
How would YOU know a bloody thing about Israel's pilicies? BAH HaHaHa!!!

Arild Gone for now (174)
Monday May 4, 2015, 5:40 am
What is "Israel's pilicies" bd????
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