Three documents recently released by Israel’s Defense Ministry clearly show that Israel’s Gaza closure policy was based not only on security (dual-use goods), but also on additional political criteria. These criteria included the connection between meeting Gaza’s needs and political support for the Hamas regime, as well as the impact on Israel’s international PR.
The documents also expose an explicit policy of “deliberate restriction” on goods, although the Defense Ministry contends that this option was never employed in practice.
The three documents were released last week, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act petition submitted by the Israeli NGO, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement. They offer insights into Israeli policy regarding the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip prior to the May 31 flotilla incident. The Defense Ministry is still refusing to declassify the documents that outline the country’s current closure policy, as amended in June.
The existence of the documents was originally denied by the Ministry. In April, the Ministry admitted their existence, but insisted that they must be kept secret due to considerations of national security.
To learn more, read the full Gisha press release.