[News] Israel violates Gaza ceasefire nearly every day

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 23 10:50:27 EST 2014


  Israel violates Gaza ceasefire nearly every day

Submitted by Maureen Clare Murphy on Mon, 12/22/2014 - 20:56

After Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza on Friday, the BBC described 
<http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30558922> the air strike on 
“a Hamas facility” as “the first such action since the declaration of a 
truce in August.”

The short BBC News item, essentially a repackaged Israeli army press 
statement, added that the strike was “in response” to a rocket fired 
earlier from Gaza.

The casual reader would understand this to mean that Israel has held its 
fire since the August ceasefire 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/electronicintifada.net/tags/gaza-ceasefire> 
which ended the intensive bombing this summer that claimed more than 
2,200 Palestinian lives.

However, the reality is that Israel has fired on Palestinians in Gaza 
/nearly every day/ since the 26 August truce.

Meanwhile, Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza totally sealed and its 1.8 
million inhabitants effectively imprisoned.


    Ceasefire violations

One of the main Palestinian conditions for a ceasefire was the lifting 
of the years-long siege that has all but obliterated Gaza’s economy, and 
which has had a deleterious impact on nearly all aspects of life there.

During the 51 days of Israeli bombing this summer, the unanimous cry 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/no-ceasefire-without-justice-gaza/13618> 
from Gaza was not just for the ending of the genocidal 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-incremental-genocide-gaza-ghetto/13562> 
violence. A return to the /status quo/ of slow suffocation under siege 
and complete impunity 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/why-gaza-ceasefire-isnt-enough/13692> 
for Israel’s constant violations of Palestinian rights was not tenable. 
Gaza’s staggering sacrifice — more than one in every thousand of its 
residents killed — required the fulfillment of basic rights.

“A ceasefire is not enough,” wrote 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/why-gaza-ceasefire-isnt-enough/13692> 
the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ Raji Sourani during the height 
of Israel’s violence.

The August ceasefire deal brokered by siege-enforcing Egypt 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/egypt>, while never made transparent 
to the public, reportedly called for the opening of Gaza’s crossings, 
allowing the entry of reconstruction materials needed to rebuild Gaza’s 
devastated neighborhoods, the extension of the permitted fishing areas 
off Gaza’s shore and the relaxation of access restrictions in the areas 
along Gaza’s perimeter fence with Israel.

These truce conditions are similar to those that ended twelve days of 
Israeli bombing — claiming hundreds of Palestinian lives in Gaza — in 
November 2012.

Like its relentless violations 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/infographic-who-violates-ceasefires-more-israelis-or-palestinians> 
of that earlier ceasefire, Israel has violated the August agreement with 
total impunity.

Here is a brief breakdown:

  * *Gaza remains sealed.* While the Israeli closure of all of Gaza’s
    other crossings remains in place, travel through the Rafah crossing
    <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/rafah-crossing> with Egypt — the
    sole point of entry and exit for the vast majority of Gaza’s
    residents — has also been strangled. On Sunday, approximately 630
    Palestinians left Gaza via Rafah after Cairo temporarily reopened
    the crossing
    <http://electronicintifada.net/content/no-ceasefire-without-justice-gaza/13618>
    — for only the second time in two months.

    Travel via Rafah is limited to those seeking medical treatment or
    people holding permits to stay abroad; at the end of last month
    <http://electronicintifada.net/content/month-pictures-november-2014/14082>,
    there were an estimated thirty thousand people waiting to exit Gaza
    via Rafah. Amongst them were one thousand patients who include
    “those with advanced cancer, renal and heart diseases, and
    orthopedic and ophthalmological needs,” according to the United
    Nations monitoring group OCHA <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/ocha>.

  * *Construction materials are not allowed in to Gaza.* Though $5.4
    billion was pledged
    <http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/who-benefits-billions-pledged-gaza-reconstruction>
    at a donors conference in Cairo in October, “reconstruction of Gaza
    has barely begun” and “even fewer construction materials are now
    entering Gaza than before the conflict,” according to the
    humanitarian group Oxfam
    <http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d7bf98037b5abfd4c69593c62&id=1efe40b2f9>.
    Despite the massive scale of destruction — it is estimated
    <http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/how-many-bombs-has-israel-dropped-gaza>
    that Israel dropped the equivalent of an atomic bomb on Gaza this
    summer — only one percent of the estimated five million tons of
    construction materials required have been allowed in to Gaza. “At
    this rate it would take more than 23 years to meet ‘immediate’ needs
    alone,” states Oxfam.

  * *Exports are not allowed out of Gaza.* Only a trickle of exports
    from Gaza are allowed through the Israeli-controlled commercial
    crossings each month. Before the blockade was imposed in May 2007,
    an average of 240 truckloads of exports left Gaza each week
    <http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_12_18_english.pdf>.
    So far this year, an average of only two truckloads of exports have
    been allowed out of Gaza each week
    <http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/maureen-clare-murphy/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_12_18_english>.
    Though the Israeli government announced an easing of export
    restrictions in October, the reality is that /the total number/ of
    trucks of exports allowed out of Gaza so far this year is about
    /only half/ of the /weekly average/ before the siege, according to
    data compiled from OCHA’s weekly reporting
    <http://www.ochaopt.org/reports.aspx?id=104&page=1>.

  * *Gaza is under constant Israeli fire.* The Israeli military, which
    monitors movement in the area of the boundary fence, uses deadly
    force against any Palestinians who dare approach the perimeters of
    the Gaza open-air prison, where much of the most fertile farmland is
    located.

    Though the August ceasefire deal stipulated that Palestinians would
    have increased access to the perimeter areas, Israel has “so far not
    officially announced the boundaries of what they consider a
    restricted area, thus generating uncertainty and increasing the
    risks to the civilian population,” states OCHA
    <http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_12_18_english.pdf>.
    “Field observations suggest that areas within 100 meters from the
    fence are largely inaccessible, while access to areas several
    hundred meters beyond this distance is risky.” Meanwhile, access to
    fishing waters “is restricted to six nautical miles from the coast.”

    Indeed, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians in the “access
    restricted areas” on a /daily basis/ the week of 9-15 December (the
    last week of available data
    <http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_12_18_english.pdf>
    from OCHA), resulting in the injury of four civilians. Twenty
    incidents of Israeli fire were recorded the week before that
    <http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_12_12_english.pdf>
    and an average of two incidents per day during the last week of
    November
    <http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/protection_of_civilians25%20nov_to_5_dec_2014.pdf>.
    One Palestinian civilian was killed and a seventeen-year-old boy was
    critically wounded by Israeli fire in the perimeter area last month
    <http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_11_28_english.pdf>,
    in the most serious of such incidents.

    Oxfam data
    <http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d7bf98037b5abfd4c69593c62&id=1efe40b2f9>
    show that approximately fifteen rockets have been fired from Gaza
    since the August ceasefire, including “test rockets” fired toward
    the sea. During that same period, there were about 45 incidents of
    Israeli naval fire, 35 incidents of Israeli border fire, and about a
    half-dozen army incursions into Gaza. /Israel has fired on
    Palestinians in Gaza on almost a daily basis/ since the ceasefire.
    Six Palestinians were shot during a protest
    <http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=748403> earlier the
    same day that Israel bombed Gaza “in response” — as the BBC put it —
    to a rocket fired from Gaza which landed in an open field, causing
    no injuries.

Not only is the pre-ceasefire /status quo/ of Israeli siege still firmly 
in place, but the secret terms of the United Nations-backed Gaza 
Reconstruction Mechanism “include onerous controls of building supplies 
and intrusive monitoring of Palestinian families seeking to rebuild 
homes destroyed by Israel,” as The Electronic Intifada has previously 
reported 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/oxfam-finally-breaks-silence-uns-failed-gaza-reconstruction-mechanism>:

    The mechanism gives Israeli occupation authorities access to
    Palestinian families’ personal information on UN databases,
    effectively turning the UN into the enforcer and partner of Israel’s
    Gaza siege.

    The deal, brokered and championed by UN Special Coordinator for the
    Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, capitulated ultimate control
    of reconstruction to Israel while doing nothing for people in Gaza.

Instead of easing its grip since August, Israel finds that it enjoys 
more control over Palestinians in Gaza than ever before.

But none of this has made international news headlines, which largely 
seem to regurgitate Israeli government press briefings.

One notable exception is /Newsweek’s/ recent cover story 
<http://www.newsweek.com/2014/12/19/gaza-one-war-one-family-five-children-four-dead-290987.html> 
which comprehensively lays out the horror to which Gaza has been 
subjected — from the erasure of almost one hundred Palestinian families 
in Israeli air strikes this summer to the practical and moral failure of 
what has become known as the “menacing mechanism” for reconstruction.

The daily violence Israel wreaks on forsaken Gaza has gone otherwise 
unreported — and when there is a brief news item on Israeli air strikes 
on Gaza, it is Israel which “responds” to Palestinian rocket fire. Never 
is rocket fire from Gaza presented as a “response” to Israel’s routine 
violation of Palestinians’ most basic rights.

-- 
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