Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is closely following the statements made by the Israeli authorities concerning significant facilities on the closure imposed on the civilians in the Gaza Strip, for more than six years.PCHR calls upon the Israeli authorities to first of all lift this unjust closure completely, as it is a form of collective punishment prohibited under the international humanitarian law, and second to discontinue all the unjust restrictions imposed on the movement of civilians and thirdly allow the free movement of trade; including imports and exports to and from the Gaza Strip.
On 31 December 2012, Major General Etan Dankot, Operations Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, stated to the Israeli Radio that Israel would allow the entry of raw construction materials, passenger buses, and trucks, and improve the capacity of electric power on the Israeli electricity networks destined for the Gaza Strip for the first time since the closure was imposed on the Gaza Strip.
In the light of experience of the past years, PCHR emphasizes that such facilities are mysterious and deceptive as the new allegations about this have not allowed the entry of all needed materials for the Gaza Strip. These facilities have not determined the amount of raw materials and the number of buses and trucks which will be allowed in.
The allegations have neither mentioned any kind of change concerning exports from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank and other countries or their nature.
Moreover, such facilities are provided for the very first time.
PCHR believes that these statements are consistently aimed at institutionalizing the closure and to create an international environment for acceptance of the essence of this policy.
PCHR believes also that the primary key in dealing with the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip should begin by acknowledging that this policy is illegal, and falls under the policy of collective punishment imposed on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
These statements, which talk about partially lifting the closure or trying to beautify this policy within the framework of the humanitarian perspective, is a clear violation of the international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War. What is truly required, is the lifting of the unjust closure completely that will allow the free movement of both persons and goods.
The limited procedures of easing the closure, declared by Israeli Authorities, will not end the suffering of the civilians in the Gaza Strip who have borne the consequences of the unjust closure for 6 successive years as they do not address the essence of the crisis.
Therefore, the closure must be completely and immediately lifted and a radical change should be made in the Israeli policies to end the severe crisis facing Gaza.
The Israeli Authorities continue to allow the entry of certain limited goods while they keep on imposing restrictions on the entry of other goods, including the raw materials.
As a result, the situation of the Gaza Strip will continue to deteriorate and no real change will happen in the economic and social conditions of the Gaza population.
The ongoing ban on imports of Gaza, including industrial and agricultural products, limits the possibility of reviving the Gaza Strip economy which has been continuously deteriorating due to this ban.
The Israeli policies and recent allegations of easing the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is an attempt to institutionalize the closure and its success implies the Israeli manipulations of international law, including the international humanitarian law and human rights law.
Over the past 6 years, the international community has failed to enforce the international humanitarian law and human rights law.
This stigmatizes the High Contacting Parties of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention which have failed to take practical measures in accordance with their legal obligations to force the Israeli authorities to respect the Convention and stop all their policies that violate economic, social, and cultural rights of the Palestinians as well as their civil and political rights.
The best approach to end the devastating consequences caused by the Israeli policies against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip is not represented by the Israeli declaration of alleged facilities or by lifting the blockade partially; rather, by immediately declaring an end of it completely.