The Author


To understand Gaza today, you must understand the history of Gaza. This little strip of land has changed hands so many times, one would think that it wasn’t a desirable area, but it isn’t true. Gaza was originally part of the British Mandate of Palestine, even settled by Jews and Arabs.

In 1948, after Statehood, the control of Gaza was taken by the aggressive Egyptian forces, and until 1967, was run by a series of puppet military governments and the ill-fated United Arab Republic. (Please note that all of this runs contradictory to International Law, much like the discussion of Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank.)

In 1993, the fateful Oslo accords put the Palestinian Authority on the map by granting them administration of Gaza. At this point, Jewish residents were still living in the area, under the protection of the Israeli Defense Forces. Again, fatefully, in 2005, under the guise of being conciliatory, Israel implemented the “Disengagement Plan,” effectively moving the Jewish residents out of Gaza, leaving the Palestinian Authority to forge their own paths. Terror started almost immediately after. Rockets, gun shots, threatening the safety of those living near Gaza. Please keep this fact in mind, as it is important to this discussion.

Fatah, the “police” arm of the Palestinian Authority, governed the area until 2006, when elections in Gaza put Hamas, a known terror organization, in power with Fatah, another recognized terror organization. They have been fighting ever since. The one thing they agree on, however, is the destruction of Israel. This is essentially the basis of the Palestinian National Unity Government.

Blockade of Gaza

Interestingly enough, Israel didn’t appreciate rockets and gun shots across the borders of Gaza into Israeli territory. That’s why they disengaged from the area to begin with, which causes a bigger legal issue down the line. Under the Disengagement plan, now that Gaza was no longer “occupied” by Israel, there shouldn’t be any reason to fight against Israel. The borders of Gaza were open, albeit with security due to the seriousness of terrorist threats, from 2005 to 2007.

During those two years, economic sanctions were imposed by Israel and the Quartet of the Middle East, consisting of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia, due to Hamas’s electoral win.

Eventually, Israel had enough. In 2007, after Hamas kicked Fatah officials out of office, the international sanctions were terminated. A stronger, more definitive blockade was put into place. Not just from Israel, but Egypt as well. The Gaza strip is so bad that “A Jerusalem Post article mentions Hamas’ complaints that since June 2008 the P.A.(Palestinian Authority) does not grant passports to Gazans anymore, thereby “preventing tens of thousands of Palestinians from being able to travel abroad.”

It’s fairly simple to see why there is a blockade on Gaza. Militants aggressive to Israel, shoot rockets into Israel. Those munitions must be restocked at some point, by someone. We saw in Operation Protective Edge that basic goods, such as building supplies, were not being utilized by the Palestinian Authority, Unity Government or Hamas. They went to build tunnels to kidnap and kill Israelis. The money that was promised to Gaza after Protective Edge still hasn’t been given due to the uncertainty of it actually going to help the Gazan people. Billions of dollars of aid have poured into the Palestinian Authority in Gaza over the years and electric and water bills haven’t been paid to Israel, who supplies both. Israel sends a myriad of tons of supplies, food, medical equipment, etc. into Gaza, without fanfare. Yet, when flotillas try to come into Israeli sea space, or other cargo ships destined for Gaza, it is almost guaranteed to include ammunition, weapons, contraband, building supplies, not for infrastructure use, but terror structure use.

Double Standards

Top Gear, a car show on BBC, did a special on the Middle East. They were to drive from Iraq into Bethlehem. When discussing the routes into Israel, the conversation went basically as follows, “Due to political reasons, we cannot enter Israel through Lebanon or Syria.” If they were to have gone by boat, which they have been known to do, they wouldn’t have been allowed to enter from Saudi Arabia either. Only through Jordan were they allowed in.

Gas and Oil pipelines are routinely bombed and sabotaged between Egypt and Israel, as well as through Jordan, although less frequently. Some goods come from Jordan, but those are few and far between:

“The Arab Gulf countries are a large and potential market for Palestinian products. But they are hard to access since Israel does not have direct trade relations with them.” World Bank. 2011. Regional Cross-Border Trade Facilitation and Infrastructure Study for Mashreq Countries.

As shown on the Ministry of Economy of Israel website, there are three countries that trade with Israel; Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, all of which have unstable relationships at best. Historically, goods are shipped in through Haifa, Ashdod or Eilat though the Gulf of Aqaba, by sea, or flown in. This greatly raises the prices of goods and damages the economy of Israel. Certainly the Palestinian Authority is to blame?

This is an unnecessary blockade. This is an act of aggression and nothing else. However, to not disturb the balance of things in Israel’s economy, no one says a word about it. Israel has not acted aggressively towards its neighbors; they should be able to let goods through. Medicine, cars, fruits and vegetables…oh wait. Israel produces those anyways. Oil and gas are certainly shipped from oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia to Israel, am I right? Up until recently, with the discovery of gas and oil fields offshore in the Mediterranean, Israel has had to import oil from Mexico, Norway, the UK; coal from Australia, South Africa and Columbia; thankfully, Egypt has had some trade with Israel for years, one good includes natural gas.

Why is Israel allowed to trade with all of these countries? Because they want to succeed. They want to be a part of the global community. They are governed by rules, not terrorists, threatening the very peace and lives of countless Israeli citizens, Jewish, Christian AND Muslim. Where is the Israeli Flotilla? Someone call BDS…I think they have the wrong side. Introduce them to Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Abbas.

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Article by Simon Springer

Simon Springer is a strong pro-Israel advocate. He has blogged for, and is the proud owner of and Dateline: Israel on Facebook/ @DatelineIsrael on Twitter and Instagram. When he is not reading incessantly about Israel, he works in the Kosher Food Business, reads voraciously, and is married with two beautiful daughters.