Civilian Policy Towards the Gaza Strip 2010

This Civilian Policy document (2010) by the Israeli Ministry of Defense outlines the government’s strategy for allowing certain necessary goods and materials to enter the Gaza strip while at the same time ‘prevent[ing] the flow into and out of Gaza of terrorist operatives, weapons, war material and dual use items which enhance the military capability of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza’.

Though not directly relevant in respect of reparations, the document may serve as an indicator of the degree of Israel’s control, and therefore of its possible responsibilities in Gaza, since its disengagement from the area in 2005. The government of Israel ‘holds the position that the laws of belligerent occupation no longer apply to the relationship between it and the residents of the Gaza Strip, and that Israel therefore no longer bears an overall responsibility for the welfare of the population but only basic humanitarian obligations with respect thereto’ (see: Policiy on Movement of People between the State of Israel and the Gaza Strip) under this section). This view is reinforced by the decision of Israel’s High Court of Justice in the Al-Bassiouni case (2008 –  see under cases in this section).

The policy outlines the quantity (number of truckloads per day/week) of goods permitted to be transferred via the two land crossings in operation at the time and lists all materials and substances, including ‘dual-use items’, that may not be transferred into the Gaza strip without specific authorization. The policy seems to allow for preferential treatment of  ‘construction supplies, whose entry into the Gaza Strip will be allowed for internationally-funded and supervised projects approved by the Palestinian Authority’ .

While the rationale of the policy is clear on the face of it, it highlights the degree to which Gaza is dependent on Israel for essential resources. See also the case of Al-Bassiouni vs the Prime Minister (in our Cases section) where the controlled supply of electricity and fuel by Israel to the Gaza Strip was the subject of a petition. In that case the restrictions allegedly compromised the provision of humanitarian assistence by e.g. effecting hospitals and the water pumping system. For the broader relevance of this document see Israel’s Policy on the Movement of People between Israel and the Gaza Strip. This policy explains that the restrictions on the types and quantities of goods allowed to enter the area are part of Israel’s ‘civil-economic sanctions’ against Gaza as a ‘hostile entity’, since Hamas took control in 2007.

In relation to the 2014 military action in Gaza, known as ‘Operation Protective Edge’, Israel’s strict control over the supply of materials necessary for the reconstruction of Gaza will determine almost entirely the pace of the reconstruction. See also the UN’s ‘Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism – Fact Sheet’ in this section.