Thursday, 10 June 2010

Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security

As Israel ordered a slight easing of its blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as "economic warfare" against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory.

Israel imposed severe restrictions on Gaza in June 2007, after Hamas won elections and took control of the coastal enclave after winning elections there the previous year, and the government has long said that the aim of the blockade is to stem the flow of weapons to militants in Gaza.

Last week, after Israeli commandos killed nine volunteers on a Turkish-organized Gaza aid flotilla, Israel again said its aim was to stop the flow of terrorist arms into Gaza.

However, in response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, the Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of economic warfare.

"A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using 'economic warfare,'" the government said.

McClatchy obtained the government's written statement from Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which sued the government for information about the blockade. The Israeli high court upheld the suit, and the government delivered its statement earlier this year.

Sari Bashi, the director of Gisha, said the documents prove that Israel isn't imposing its blockade for its stated reasons, but rather as collective punishment for the Palestinian population of Gaza...
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at 6/10/2010 09:43:00 AM
Israel arrested 700,000 Palestinians since 1967; 70,000 since 2000
IMEMC - The head of the Palestinian Ministry Of Detainees' Census Department , Abdul-Nasser Farawna, who is himself a former detainee, stated that Israel arrested around 700,000 Palestinians since June 1967. That figure includes tens of thousands of children and over 10,000 women. -

Farawna also stated that 198 Palestinians died due to torture, medical negligence, while some of them were shot and killed by their arresting officers. Hundreds of detainees died after they were released due to health issues related to their arrest and torture.

The researcher added that the army does not target a specific segment of the society as the illegal arrests target women, children, elderly, students, lawyers, doctors and workers, and that most of the kidnapped Palestinians were tortured.

Approximately 420.000 Palestinians were kidnapped by the army in the period between 1967 and the beginning of the first Intifada in 1987.

The army also conducted 210.000 arrests during the years of the first Intifada, between December 1987 and 1994.

The arrests rate dropped after the Oslo peace agreement of 1994 until September 2000, as Israel conducted 1700 arrests each year.

But after the second Intifada started in late September 2000 until this day, the army carried more than 70.000 arrests with a rate of 7000 arrests each year.

Farawna said that there are several factors that affect the increase or decrease in the numbers of arrests as the security situation, and the direct presence of the army in the Palestinian territories affects the number of arrests.

The Palestinian researcher further stated that 198 Palestinians died in Israeli prison, detention and interrogation centers. Most of the detainees died due to torture and lack of medical attention.

73 detainees (%36.9) died in the period between 1967 until December 8, 1987.
42 (%21.2) detainees died in Israeli prisons during the first Intifada in the period between December 8 and mid 1994.

Eight detainees died in Israeli prisons in the period between 1994 until the second Intifada that started in September 2000.

75 detainees (%37.9)died during the Al Aqsa Intifada. 50 of them died after not receiving the needed medical attention in Israeli prisons, and 7 died due to excessive use of force against them in prisons; this includes the army’s use of lethal fire against them in prison.

This is besides hundreds of detainees who died after they were released as they became sick in prison.

Farawna further stated that arrests are still ongoing, and the conditions in Israeli prisons are becoming worse than before, while the number of sick detainees is increasing; including dozens who have serious diseases and health conditions.

Furthermore, Farawna said that the violations against the detainees are escalating, and voiced an appeal to human rights groups to intervene in order to put an end to the ongoing violations carried out by Israel against the detainees and their internationally guaranteed rights.

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