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Gaza: Facts the BBC Doesn't Tell Us


August 26, 2014
David Morrison / David Morrison.org

In November 2005, shortly after withdrawing its settlers and ground troops from Gaza, Israel signed an Agreement on Movement and Access that agreed to provide: (1) continuous operation of crossings between Israel and Gaza for the import and export of goods and the transit of people (2) a crossing between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah for the export of goods and the transit of people (3) the building of a seaport in Gaza (4) re-opening of the airport in Gaza (5) bus and truck convoys. between the West Bank and Gaza

http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/palestine/gaza-facts-bbc-doesn%27t-tell-us.htm

Gaza: Facts the BBC Doesn't Tell Us
David Morrison / David Morrison.org

(August 19, 2014) –
The Agreement on Movement and Access
In November 2005, in the wake of Israel's withdrawal of its settlers and ground troops from Gaza, Israel signed the Agreement on Movement and Access [1], which provided for, amongst other things:
(1) continuous operation of crossings between Israel and Gaza for the import and export of goods and the transit of people
(2) the building of a seaport in Gaza
(3) re-opening of the airport in Gaza
(4) bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza

2006 Palestinian Elections
Hamas was the victor in the January 2006 Palestinian elections, winning 74 out of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Fatah won 45 seats and other parties 13 [2]. These elections were universally agreed to be free and fair.

Hamas won a majority of the seats in both the West Bank (30 out of 42) and Gaza (15 out of 24) [2].

The EU, including the UK, adamantly refused to accept the outcome of these elections and to deal with Hamas-led governments formed on the basis of them.

Israel-Hamas Agreements
Hamas has twice made agreements with Israel, involving
(a) the cessation of all Israeli military action against Gaza
(b) the cessation of all Palestinian military action from Gaza against Israel, and
(c) the lifting of Israel's blockade against Gaza.

Israel's last military offensive against Gaza in November 2012 (Operation Pillar of Cloud) ended with an Egyptian-brokered agreement along these lines [3].

Israel didn't cease military incursions into Gaza and didn't take any steps to end its blockade of Gaza [4].

By contrast, Hamas maintained a ceasefire for almost 20 months until 7 July 2014 [4].

Under a similar agreement in 2008, Hamas maintained a ceasefire for four and a half months, while Israel failed to fulfil its obligations under the agreement [5].

It is reasonable to conclude that, had Israel adhered to the terms of either of these agreements, rocket and mortar fire from Gaza would have ceased permanently.

Fatalities Due to Rocket and Mortar Fire
From September 2005 (when Israel withdrew its settlers and ground troops from Gaza) until 8 July 2014 (when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge), a total of 21 people (18 civilians and 3 military personnel) were killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza [6].

Of these, only 11 (the last in October 2011) were killed outside of Israel's previous two major campaigns, Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Cloud [6].

During the same period, nearly 3,000 Palestinians, the vast majority non-combatants, were killed by Israeli military action in Gaza. Of these, 1,391 died during Operation Cast Lead and 171 during Operation Pillar of Cloud [7].

Fatalities During Israel's Latest Offensive
During Israel's latest military offensive, Operation Protective Edge, a further 13 people have been killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, 10 of them military personnel [6]. In addition, 54 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza during Israel's ground offensive [8].

According to an UN OCHA report of 15 August 2014, 1,975 Palestinians, including 459 children and 239 women, have been killed by Israeli military action in Gaza during the offensive [8].

In addition, according to an UN OCHA report of 4 August 2014, 15 Palestinian civilians were killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces during protests against Israeli military action in Gaza [9].

Fatalities During Israel's
Three Major Military Offensives

During Israel's three major military offensives against Gaza, 63 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza (9 during Operation Cast Lead and 54 during Operation Protective Edge) and 23 people (13 Israeli soldiers and 10 civilians) have been killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.

In other words, a total of 86 people have been killed by the Palestinian military response to these Israeli offensives, each of which was launched with the stated objective of suppressing rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.

By comparison, since September 2005 only 11 people have been killed at other times in Israel by Palestinian rocket and mortar from Gaza. The last of these was killed in October 2011, a year before the second of Israel's three major military offensives against Gaza.

References:
[1] www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/peace/mfadocuments/pages/agreed%20documents%20on%20movement
%20and%20access%20from%20and%20to%20gaza%2015-nov-2005.aspx
[2] www.elections.ps/tabid/818/language/en-US/Default.aspx
[3] www.upi.com/blog/2012/11/21/Read-the-Gaza-ceasefire-deal/7401353523034/
[4] www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n16/nathan-thrall/hamass-chances
[5] sadaka.ie/Articles/Papers/PAPER-Gaza_Ceasefire.pdf
[6] mondoweiss.net/2014/07/rocket-deaths-israel.html
[7] www.btselem.org/statistics
[8] www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_sitrep_15_08_2014.pdf
[9] www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_8_08_english.pdf



Gaza: Implement the Agreement on Movement and Access NOW
David Morrison / DavidMorrison.org

(August 19, 2014) -- In November 2005, shortly after withdrawing its settlers and ground troops from Gaza, Israel signed the Agreement on Movement and Access [1]. The Agreement provided for, amongst other things:

(1) continuous operation of crossings between Israel and Gaza for the import and export of goods and the transit of people
(2) a crossing between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah for the export of goods and the transit of people
(3) the building of a seaport in Gaza
(4) re-opening of the airport in Gaza
(5) bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza

These arrangements were drawn up by former head of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, who was then Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement for the Quartet (US, EU, Russia and the UN Secretary-General).

This agreement was supposed "to promote peaceful economic development and improve the humanitarian situation on the ground" in Gaza (to quote from its preamble) in the wake of Israeli disengagement. But, instead of implementing the provisions of the agreement, Israel imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, which has brought untold misery to its people.

Condoleezza Rice Promises
Condoleezza Rice (US Secretary of State) and Javier Solana (EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy) launched the Agreement at a press conference in Jerusalem on 15 November 2005. At the launch, Condoleezza Rice declared:

This agreement is intended to give the Palestinian people freedom to move, to trade, to live ordinary lives.

"First, for the first time since 1967, Palestinians will gain control over entry and exit from their territory. This will be through an international crossing at Rafah, whose target opening date is November 25th.

"Second, Israel and the Palestinians will upgrade and expand other crossings for people and cargo between Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. This is especially important now because Israel has committed itself to allow the urgent export of this season's agricultural produce from Gaza.

"Third, Palestinians will be able to move between Gaza and the West Bank; specifically, bus convoys are to begin about a month from now and truck convoys are to start a month after that.

"Fourth, the parties will reduce obstacles to movement within the West Bank. It has been agreed that by the end of the year the United States and Israel will complete work to lift these obstacles and develop a plan to reduce them.

"Fifth, construction of a Palestinian seaport can begin. The Rafah model will provide a basis for planned operations.

"Sixth, the parties agree on the importance of the airport. Israel recognizes that the Palestinian Authority will want to resume construction on the airport. I am encouraging Israel to consider allowing construction to resume as this agreement is successfully implemented -- construction that could, for instance, be limited to non-aviation elements."
[2]

Implement NOW
This is what the US/EU promised the people of Gaza in November 2005 in the Agreement on Movement and Access. Nearly a decade later, none of it has been delivered. For most of that time, Gaza has been subject to a brutal economic blockade by Israel and the US/EU, the sponsors of the agreement, have stood idly by and let it happen.

From time to time, the EU has voiced the opinion that the blockade should be lifted, for example, in European Council conclusions in December 2012, which stated that "the European Union reiterates its call for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from the Gaza Strip" [3]. But it hasn't lifted a finger to bring this about.

In the same conclusions, the EU stated that "it is vital that all parts of the ceasefire agreement are implemented". The ceasefire agreement mentioned here is the one, brokered by Egypt a few weeks earlier, which brought to an end Israel's second major military offensive against Gaza. This agreement included a commitment by Israel to "opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents free movement" [4].

Israel didn't implement this or any other aspect of the ceasefire agreement -- see Sadaka Briefing Will Israel implement an agreement with Hamas? History suggests NO [5] -- but the EU hasn't uttered a word of reproof against Israel for failing to do so.

In November 2005, the arrangements contained in the Agreement on Movement and Access were deemed necessary to maintain and develop the economic life of Gaza. With Gaza's economy in ruins due to Israel's economic blockade and its periodic destruction of Gaza's economic infrastructure, these arrangements are even more vital today.

References:
[1] www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/peace/mfadocuments/pages/agreed%20documents%20on%20movement
%20and%20access%20from%20and%20to%20gaza%2015-nov-2005.aspx
[2] unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/C73B42AA9C864783852570BA0064EF7E
[3] www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/EN/foraff/134152.pdf
[4] www.upi.com/blog/2012/11/21/Read-the-Gaza-ceasefire-deal/7401353523034/
[5] sadaka.ie/Articles/Briefings/BRIEFING-Will-Israel-implement-an-agreement-with-Hamas.pdf

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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