(Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)
Despite attacks by Hamas, Israel maintains an ongoing humanitarian corridor for the transfer of perishable and staple food items to Gaza. This conduit is used by internationally recognized organizations including the United Nations and the Red Cross. The Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration works together with international organizations to respond to the needs of the Palestinian population in Gaza.
Food, medicine and ambulances are delivered to Gaza
via the Kerem Shalom crossing (Photos: IDF Spokesperson)
At the Cabinet meeting of 22 March 2009, the Government of Israel instructed the bodies dealing with the matter, to enable the entry - without restriction - of foodstuffs to the residents of Gaza from all relevant sources in the framework of the humanitarian efforts.
At the Security Cabinet meeting of June 2010, the Government outlined its new policy towards the Gaza Strip. It was agreed to:
- Liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza.
- Expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision.
- Continue existing security procedures to prevent the inflow of weapons and war materiel
Since the Israeli government's decision of June 2010, all commercial goods have entered the Gaza Strip freely, in accordance with the needs of the population. The only exceptions are dual-use materials and building materials - the latter has until recently been restricted to projects sponsored by the international organizations. The number of trucks delivering goods to the Gaza Strip has steadily increased - from a daily average of 120 in April 2010 to 247 in September 2011.
Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel from January 2009 - May 2010, equaling nearly a ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza. Food and supplies are shipped from Israel to Gaza six days a week, channeled through aid organizations or via Gaza's private sector. Millions of dollars worth of international food aid continually flows through the Israeli humanitarian apparatus, ensuring that there is no food shortage in Gaza.
Essential food products including meat, chicken and fish, grains and legumes, oil, flour, oil, salt and sugar, fresh vegetables and dairy products, in addition to agricultural produce, animal feed, hygiene products, clothing and medicals supplies are among the goods that are regularly delivered to Gaza. Fertilizers that cannot be used to make explosives are shipped into the Strip regularly, as are potato seeds, eggs for reproduction, bees, and equipment for the flower industry.
Israel also coordinates the transfer of medical supplies and school equipment supplied by UNRWA including notebooks, school bags, writing implements and textbooks, and laptops for Gaza schoolchildren.
Gas for domestic use (cooking and heating) is supplied according to Palestinian demand and is not subject to any limitation by Israel. After the fuel depot at Nahal Oz was repeatedly attacked by Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip, it was forced to limit its operations. The Kerem Shalom crossing has since been adapted to the transfer of fuel and a new gas line with double the capacity to transfer gas was built.
Coordination and processing of requests regarding humanitarian infrastructure, such as water, sewage and electricity systems, in the Gaza Strip is conducted between COGAT and the Palestinian Authority. While the import of cement and iron has been restricted into Gaza since these are used by the Hamas to cast rockets and bunkers, monitored imports of truckloads of cement, iron, and building supplies such as wood and windows are regularly coordinated with international parties.
Israel maintains a corridor for the transfer of medical patients out of Gaza, and about 200 medical staff members go through the crossings every month. In addition to medical evacuations, the Erez Crossing enables two-way traffic of international organizations' staff between Israel and Gaza as well as Gaza residents with various humanitarian needs.
In August 2011, the Coordinator of Government Activities in Territories reported that since the Cabinet's decision, 149 new internationally funded projects have been approved. The Cabinet specified that projects in the fields of education, water, sewage, housing and health would be prioritized, and projects in these fields constitute 72% of all the projects approved for implementation in the Gaza Strip. At the end of June 2011, 33 projects were complete and 59 others were in the implementation stages.
Recently Israel approved 13 more projects of the international community, bringing to 176 the total number of projects approved. Thirty-five of the projects have been completed, 70 are in various stages of implementation, 63 have not yet begun, and eight were canceled. Up to the beginning of November, 11,343 truckloads of building materials were delivered to the Gaza Strip for these projects.
|Projects by type
Education - 64
Infrastructure - 32
Agriculture - 18
Health - 14
Housing - 13
Roads - 10
Miscellaneous - 25
Projects by sponsor
UNRWA - 76
USAID - 47
UNDP - 39
World Bank - 3
Red Cross - 3
France - 2
Germany - 2
Egypt - 1
Belgium - 1
Netherlands - 1
Sweden - 1
On 15 November a plan to import building materials for the private sector in the Gaza Strip began. Building materials for the renovation and rehabilitation of 10 private sector factories will be imported, under the supervision of the international community. This is in order to ensure that the raw materials reach their intended destinations and do not fall into the hands of terrorist organizations.
Economic growth in the Gaza Strip reached 31% in the second quarter of 2011 (the construction industry accounted for the most significant increase in economic growth).
- Unemployment is the lowest it has been in a decade.
- There is no shortage of commercial goods in the Gaza Strip.
- One hundred exit permits for businesspersons are issued every day, in addition to the passage of Gaza residents for humanitarian reasons and the entry of international organization employees.
- The import of new cars is also permitted, and many luxury cars are imported to the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing.