An IDF Powerpoint slideshow, presented before the Turkel committee for the investigation of the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, reveals the official goals of the Israeli policy regarding the Gaza strip.
The slideshow, prepared by The Administration for the Coordination of Government Policy in the Territories – the IDF body in charge of carrying out Israeli government policies regarding the civilian population in the West Bank and Gaza – deals with the humanitarian conditions in the strip; with food, water, fuel and electricity supply and with the condition of medical facilities in Gaza.
The first set of slides details the background for the current activities of The Administration for the Coordination of Government Policy in the Territories. Slide number 15 details the principles of Israeli policy (my italic):
- Responding to the humanitarian needs of the population.
- Upholding civilian and economic limitations on the [Gaza] strip.
- Separating [or differentiating, בידול] Judea and Samaria [i.e. West Bank] from Gaza – a security and diplomatic objective.
- Preserving the Quartet’s conditions on Hamas (Hamas as a terrorist entity).
Slide 20 deals with freedom of movement from and to the Gaza strip. Policy objectives are:
- Limiting people from entering or exiting the strip, in accordance with the government’s decision.
- Separating [differentiating] Judea and Samaria from Gaza.
- Dealing with humanitarian needs.
- Preserving the activity of humanitarian organizations in the strip.
- Keeping a coordinating mechanism with the Palestinian Authority.
The Israeli policy regarding Gaza could be seen as violation of official and unofficial principles of previous agreements and negotiations with the Palestinians and other parties. Gaza and the West Bank were regarded as “one entity” – though not officially declared as such – already in the 1978 peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. The Oslo Declaration of Principles, signed in September 1993 and still an abiding document, specifically states that:
The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.
This declaration was ratified in following agreements from 1994 and 1995.
The recent IDF slideshow is the first time an Israeli official document publicly declares that the current policy objective is to create two separate political entities in the Palestinian territories.
Nirit Ben-Ari, spokeswoman for Gisha, an Israeli NGO dealing with the freedom of movement, export and import to and from the Palestinian territories, said that “while in Washington a Palestinian state is being negotiated and people are already discussing ‘a train line between Gaza and Ramallah‘, in reality Israel is working to separate Gaza from the West bank even further than the separation already caused by the split in the Palestinian leadership.
“This policy is aimed against civilian population and against people who have nothing to do with Israel’s security concerns. It hurts family ties, and harms any future possibility to develop commerce, education and economical life in the Palestinian society. Those policies should raise concerns regarding the intentions of the Israeli government in Gaza.”
Other slides in the IDF slideshow deals with the ways the IDF gather information on the humanitarian situation in the strip (mainly through NGO’s and media reports), how food and fuel supply is evaluated, and how the needs of the local population are calculated. According to the IDF assumptions, there are 1,600,000 people living in Gaza. The army does not occupy itself with the distribution of supply, so there is no way of knowing if the population’s needs are actually met – only that according to the IDF, enough food and water is entering Gaza.
The slideshow doesn’t deal with the export of goods from the strip, nor does it explains the mechanism that is used to determine which civilian goods could be brought in.
Slide 50 details the goods found on the Gaza-bound flotilla: medical supply, toys, school gear, construction materials and powered wheelchairs.