Dubai: Israel imposes a very calculated policy of blockade on the Gaza strip which is a “central pillar of the armed conflict with Hamas,” according to documents cited in an Israeli court case.
The documents submitted to an Israeli court were obtained by the BBC, detailing the exact policies of the blockade. Among the most shocking factors was that the document includes information on exactly how many calories Gazans needed.
The case surfaced in court after an Israeli human rights group called Gisha, filed a case in an attempt to determine what exactly is allowed for import to Gaza and why.
Items allowed have changed over time, which has left humanitarian organisations and commercial importers constantly attempting to guess what will be approved. The lack of explanation as to what is allowed and what is not, has left many people perplexed as to what exactly the aim of the blockade is.
“I don’t see how preventing children from receiving toys and prevent manufactureres from getting raw materials are responsive to Israeli security needs,” Sari Bashi, Gisha’s director told the BBC. Many prohibitions are arbitrary, Bashi explained.
For example, cinnamon is permitted but coriander is banned.
“Is there something more dangerous about coriander? Is coriander more critical to Gaza’s economy than cinnamon? This is a policy that appears to make no sense,” she added.
The revelation that the blockade is the central pillar to the conflict with Hamas shed light on the mystery of the arbitrary siege.
The BBC also learned that there are four documents related to how the blockade works: how they process requests for imports into Gaza, how they monitor the shortages within Gaza, their approved list of what is allowed in and a document entitled “Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip - Red Lines,” which sets out the minimum calorie intake needed by Gaza’s million and a half inhabitants, according to their age and sex.
The blockade is viewed by many as “collective punishment” of the population and the unpredicitablility of the the seige causes just as many problems as the shortages.
The BBC also learned that as of March only 81 items have been approved for import, in which shoes were added to the list. However, three years ago, 4,000 items were allowed for import.
For a full list of items allowed for import: