≡ Menu

Israeli Secrets Behind Gaza Siege

Several years ago, when Ariel Sharon was prime minister, his main advisor, Dov Weisglass “jokingly” said that Israel’s siege was intended to put Gazans on a diet:

“It’s like a meeting with a dietitian. We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death.”

Yes, it was macabre, but typical of the callousness and gallows humor Israeli leaders like to employ when dealing with Palestinians.  Little did we know that the IDF actually does maintain a formerly secret document about how many calories it takes to maintain Gazans on the near edge of malnutrition:

The Israeli authorities also confirm the existence of 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.

And in case you were wondering, the Gaza siege and such a dietary plan are play a major role in maintaining the security of the State of Israel:

“The limitation on the transfer of goods is a central pillar in the means at the disposal of the State of Israel in the armed conflict between it and Hamas.”

Wouldn’t you say that a siege that has been in place for four years now hasn’t quite done the job it was supposed to as Hamas is still in power.  Not to mention that there is currently a ceasefire in place and no “armed conflict” between Israel and Hamas as the statement maintains.  Isn’t it about time to try something new?  Like not maintaining people on the edge of malnutrition over long periods of time?  I know Martin Kramer would disagree since he believes that such borderline starvation inhibits Arab women from having babies who all grow up to be terrorists.  But everyone else recognizes the failure of this strategy.

In a court case brought by the Israeli NGO Gisha, which demanded that the government reveal the criteria behind its siege policy including what products were forbidden and why, the government came up with this ingenious justification for opacity:

In each case, the state argues that disclosure of what is allowed in and why would, in their words, “damage national security and harm foreign relations”.

Apparently, it would harm national security, for example, for the world to know that cinnamon is permitted by coriander not.  It’s obvious why this information would harm foreign relations: because it would reveal to the rest of the world the utter idiocy and sheer caprice of Israeli decision-making.

In case you’re considering sending care packages, these are the items which so endanger the security of the State that they may, on no account, be imported into Gaza:

Among the large range of goods currently forbidden are jam, chocolate, wood for furniture, fruit juice, textiles, and plastic toys.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Bufferfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail
youtubeyoutube

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • uncle joe mccarthy May 5, 2010, 1:58 PM

    richard,

    if no treaty has been signed between two parties, a ceasefire does not end the conflict between the two parties

    therefore the situation between hamas and israel is the same as that between north and south korea

    both parties are still engaged in an active war

    • Richard Silverstein May 5, 2010, 5:00 PM

      both parties are still engaged in an active war

      No, they’re not.

      Cast Lead was an active war. This is not. The siege is a gross violation of international law for which Israel will face justice eventually (as will any Palestinians who fired rockets into Israel).

  • Rachael May 5, 2010, 3:56 PM

    These people are just…sick. Absolutely sick.

  • Aliyah Levestam May 5, 2010, 5:57 PM

    Richard, can you perhaps explain why, with all those miles of coastline, Gaza is so completely dependent on receiving imports via Israel or, even more begrudgingly if that is possible, Egypt?

    The ‘utter idiocy and sheer caprice’ of the decision-makers are well known to me – the same holds true of decisions made re prisoner property in just about any prison world-wide.

    • Richard Silverstein May 7, 2010, 11:00 PM

      The Israeli navy patrols the Gaza coastline & nothing can enter or depart w/o Israel knowing & controlling access.

  • DICKERSON3870 May 5, 2010, 8:10 PM

    RE: “It’s obvious why this information would harm foreign relations: because it would reveal to the rest of the world the utter idiocy and sheer caprice of Israeli decision-making.” – R.S.
    MY COMMENT: This makes my “inner Kafka” so damn angry!

    On his thirtieth birthday, a senior bank clerk, Josef K. is unexpectedly arrested by two unidentified agents for an unspecified crime. The agents do not name the authority for which they are acting. He is not taken away, however, but left at home to await instructions from the Committee of Affairs…
    …after months of trial postponement, Joseph K goes to court painter Titorelli to ask for advice. He is told to hope for little. He might get definite acquittal, ostensible acquittal, or indefinite postponement. No one is ever really acquitted, but sometimes cases can be extended indefinitely.

    Titorelli: “You see, in definite acquittal, all the documents are annulled. But with ostensible acquittal, your whole dossier continues to circulate. Up to the higher courts, down to the lower ones, up again, down. These oscillations and peregrinations, you just can’t figure ‘em.”
    Joseph K: “No use in trying either, I suppose.”
    Titorelli: “Not a hope. Why, I’ve known cases of an acquitted man coming home from the court and finding the cops waiting there to arrest him all over again. But then, of course, theoretically it’s always possible to get another ostensible acquittal.”
    Joseph K: “The second acquittal wouldn’t be final either.”
    Titorelli: “It’s automatically followed by the third arrest. The third acquittal, by the fourth arrest. The fourth–”

    On the last day of K.’s thirtieth year, two men arrive to execute him. He offers little resistance, suggesting that he has realised this as being inevitable for some time. They lead him to a quarry where he is expected to kill himself, but he cannot. The two men then execute him. His last words describe his own death: “Like a dog!”
    The Trial – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trial

    • Kalea May 5, 2010, 9:55 PM

      Yes, Israel treats the people of Gaza like dogs, although, I think dogs in Israel get better treatment from Israelis than do the people of Gaza.

    • Mary Hughes-Thompson May 6, 2010, 1:25 AM

      I realize these are not your words, but I’m astonished that Kafka would write “the last day of K’s thirtieth year” when of course K was executed on the last day of his thirty-first year. Sorry to pontificate, especially against someone not here to defend himself, but this common error has always been one of my pet beefs.

      • DICKERSON3870 May 13, 2010, 12:31 PM

        RE: I’m astonished that Kafka would write “the last day of K’s thirtieth year” when of course K was executed on the last day of his thirty-first year. – Mary Hughes-Thompson
        MY COMMENT: Perhaps Max Brod is to be faulted.
        FROM WIKIPEDIA: The Trial
        (excerpts)…Like Kafka’s other novels, The Trial was never completed, although it does include a chapter which brings the story to an end…
        …After his death in 1924, Kafka’s friend and literary executor Max Brod edited the text for publication…As the novel was never completed, certain inconsistencies exist within the novel, such as disparities in timing in addition to other flaws in narration….
        SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trial

  • Yakov May 6, 2010, 1:06 PM

    I agree the siege is a bad idea and that it’s unfair to the population. Why don’t they return Gilad Shalit and have the siege lifted?

    • Richard Silverstein May 6, 2010, 3:05 PM

      Why doesn’t Israel agree to release the prisoners Hamas has requested? Why doesn’t Israel agree to negotiate directly with Hamas? Why doesn’t Israel agree to a formal ceasefire w. Hamas? Why doesn’t Israel return to 67 borders so Hamas will in effect agree to a permanent ceasefire? Answer me those shaiylehs pls.

      And it’s not just a bad idea or “unfair.” It’s a grievous violation of international law for which Israel’s leaders will face justice eventually.

      • Yakov May 8, 2010, 5:37 AM

        Because these prisoners are murderers and will return to terrorist activity once they are released? Israel won’t agree to a ceasefire while Hamas holds Shalit. Once they’ll return Shalit in some kind of a deal which is acceptable to Israel, which agrees to most of Hamas’ list, than there will be a formal ceasefire.
        “Why doesn’t Israel return to 67 borders so Hamas will in effect agree to a permanent ceasefire?”

        What do you mean by “in effect”? Hamas aims to destroy Israel in whatever borders and I’ve seen nothing to convince me otherwise yet.

        As for the siege, the population isn’t starving or dying. They have leaders, so they should ask them why there’s a siege.

        Besides, Hamas control every gate in the border. Everything that enters Gaza without a siege, goes through them. In the current situation, an immediate cancellation of the siege would greatly help Hamas. The siege must end, but not unilaterally.

        As for the International law, I’m not sure why is there a violation. Gaza isn’t occupied by Israel. It has borders with two countries and it’s at war with one of them. Israel uses the siege with causing a humanitarian crisis so it’s a lawful way to wage war.

        Why won’t Gaza trade with Egypt, btw?

        • Richard Silverstein May 8, 2010, 11:06 PM

          Israel won’t agree to a ceasefire while Hamas holds Shalit.

          Israel agreed to a ceasefire post Cast Lead. Why do you tink there is relative peace bet. Israel & Gaza now?

          Hamas aims to destroy Israel in whatever borders and I’ve seen nothing to convince me otherwise yet

          Yes, & the sun revolves around the Earth, which is flat. Don’t let us disturb your hermetically sealed universe with troubling things like facts & evidence.

          As for the siege, the population isn’t starving or dying. They have leaders, so they should ask them why there’s a siege.

          A perfect solipsism. Israel is starving Gaza, but Gazans are responsible for their own starvation. Blaming the victim, anyone??

          Hamas control every gate in the border

          No, Israel controls every gate in the border & everything goes through it.

          an immediate cancellation of the siege would greatly help Hamas.

          Actaully, it is the siege itself which greatly helps Hamas since the tunnels it works bring in almost every vital item needed for Gaza to function.

          As for the International law, I’m not sure why is there a violation. Gaza isn’t occupied by Israel.

          Just because YOU don’t know doesn’t mean something isn’t a fact. This IS a violation of international law. BY international law, Israel occupies Gaza. Look it up. Do some research. And not in Frontpagemagazine or other hasbara sites. Do some real research & then come back w. well thought out questions or arguments. And I warn you that this subject has been argued incessantly in the comment threads here, so if you want to revive the dead horse & bring nothing new to the discussion you’ll receive a rude awakening. Follow the comment rules, stay on topic. If you don’t or can’t, you may face consequences.

          Israel uses the siege with causing a humanitarian crisis

          I presume this was a typo, but it does sum up the bankruptcy of yr argument.

  • Sue May 6, 2010, 2:44 PM

    A Gazan friend of mine said his heart broke when the Israelis left Gaza some years back. He knew Gaza was going to be walled up like a jail, and they would be left to starve, die and rot. It has not been an easy life since then, and certainly harshest during the Gaza War. The Gaza Freedom March was to bring tons of medical aid, food and medical supplies to Gaza. Add to the list of banned goods, infant formula and powdered milk. It all sits in Aqaba. Egypt stopped the Freedom March. Thanks Egypt.I expect that from Israel, not Egypt.

  • Mary Hughes-Thompson May 6, 2010, 2:54 PM

    I was one of over thirteen hundred people from around the world who spent two weeks in Cairo last December and January, after Egypt reneged on its promise to grant us all safe passage to Gaza. To facilitate the arrangement, each of us gave all our personal information, passport numbers, home addresses and phone numbers etc. to the Egyptian authorities. So of course they knew were coming, and they did their best to make it impossible for us to move around in Cairo. None of us had any doubt that Israel and the United States were complicit with Egypt in stopping us from reaching Gaza.

    Later this month three cargo boats, will sail from ports around Europe to further break the siege of Gaza. I am proud that I was aboard the first boat FREE GAZA when in August 2008 it became the first boat to land in Gaza port in over 41 years. We will not be stopped. Gaza and all of Palestine will be free.

    • Aliyah Levestam May 9, 2010, 7:50 PM

      ‘Later this month three cargo boats, will sail from ports around Europe to further break the siege of Gaza. I am proud that I was aboard the first boat FREE GAZA when in August 2008 it became the first boat to land in Gaza port in over 41 years.’

      This is the sort of thing that I was asking about in my earlier comment. No doubt Israel will intercept them however, and to an extent I couldn’t blame them because this would be a much more convenient way to bring in weaponry and ordinance than the tunnels. Let us hope that they simply stop and search and that the ships can then make their way to Gaza.

  • Mary Hughes-Thompson May 9, 2010, 9:34 PM

    Since our boats don’t go near Israeli waters it is not Israel’s business to intercept them.

    Israel has acknowledged in writing that it knows our voyages are for humanitarian purposes, and has never suggested we could be carrying arms. Our boats are always searched at the port of departure and are certified as carrying no weapons. We are all sworn to non-violence and would never consider allowing weapons of any sort on board.

    Israeli gunboats routinely harass and threaten us and in December 2008 they rammed our boat DIGNITY, causing damage which ultimately led to its sinking. A few weeks later our boat SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, carrying doctors, journalists and medical supplies, was forced to return to Cyprus. And last June SPIRIT was attacked and boarded by Israeli pirates in international waters, towed to Ashdod (where it remains) and all 21 passengers and crew were kidnapped and forced to Israel where they were jailed for a week and charged with being in Israel illegally.

  • RiSt pancras May 10, 2010, 2:40 AM

    GaxGaza is under Seige. There is no doubt about the illegality of the siege or its cruelty.
    The number of killed Palestinians over the past decade has risen to circa 10,000. All killed by Israelis and the vast majority killed in either Gaza or the West Bank. Where they were not a security threat to Israelis.
    The cease fire that had held bewteen Gaza and Israel before the massacre was broken by Israel. That is well known. Israel has and continues to act maliciously and deceitfully towards an occupied and unarmed people.

    • Aliyah Levestam May 10, 2010, 4:21 PM

      Meantime, ceasefire or no, missiles launched from Gaza continue to fall on Ashkelon and Sderot. So being in Gaza doesn’t automatically make a Palesinian ‘not a security threat to Israelis.’

      ‘The cease fire that had held bewteen Gaza and Israel before the massacre was broken by Israel. That is well known.’ Which ceasefire, which massacre? There have been so many so-called ceasefires and so many massacres, perpetrated by both sides, that you need to be more specific if your post is to have any meaning.