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JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

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Posts

Gisha Newsflash on the situation in Gaza

gisha_logoThe Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs isn’t telling the whole truth

On 6 December, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a newsletter highlighting the economic situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Though there are some miscalculations, for the most part the MFA’s data are accurate. The real problem is that the numbers appear without context.

In this week’s post we provide context for the MFA’s (mostly) correct numbers.

Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip:
Permit the entrance of humanitarian aid ONLY –
no development, no prosperity, no economic activity.

Food: No luxury, no production

True: “All food products are brought into the Gaza Strip, except for those that definitely constitute luxury items”.
More true: Did you know that honey and canned fruit, which have been banned since the beginning of the closure, definitely constitute luxury items? Or that, for 8 months, tea definitely constituted a luxury item, until it was suddenly permitted into Gaza about two months ago, indicating that maybe it is not a luxury item after all? On the other hand, pasta is definitely not a luxury item anymore, since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern about obstacles to the entrance of aid in February. Margarine in small packets is not a luxury item, but margarine in large buckets is definitely a luxury item, because it could then be used as a raw material for local food production, giving Palestinian residents of Gaza the luxury of engaging in productive work.
There are no published lists of what kinds of goods can and cannot enter, and Israel has refused to explain which products constitute a luxury, and which don’t. Without some kind of list – how are we to know?

Unemployment: Revealing all the numbers

True: Unemployment in Gaza dropped from 45.5% in the second quarter of 2008 to 36% in the second quarter of 2009.
More true: According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the reason for the second quarter drop in unemployment may have been that temporary relief projects, especially for clearing rubble after the military operation, were initiated by international organizations and the local government. The MFA neglects to mention that in the third quarter of 2009 unemployment again rose to 42.3%, as these temporary relief projects ended. Compare this with 32.3% unemployment in June 2007, just before the closure began.
Fuel and electricity: Not meeting needs

True: Israel meets the minimum threshold set by the Israeli High Court for the passage of industrial diesel for electricity production at the Gaza power plant.
More true: The minimum threshold for industrial diesel set by the court is far below what Gaza needs. In fact, the industrial diesel that was transferred in the month of November met just 39.1% percent of needs, creating power outages.

Re-building projects: A drop in the bucket

True: “Israel is conducting discussions with the Palestinian Authority, the US, EU representatives in the area and others, with the aim of establishing an agreed-upon supervisory mechanism, subject to international standards, which will ensure, if and when a decision is made to that effect, that monies, materials and equipment that are brought into the Gaza Strip for vita humanitarian projects actually reach their destinations”.
More true: Israel has refused to allow reconstruction materials to enter Gaza, despite “discussions” that have taken place over the past 11 months. Gaza needs at least 25,000 tons of iron and 40,000 tons of cement for reconstruction. Since the war, Israel has blocked all but 19 trucks of construction materials permitted to enter on an exceptional basis for the humanitarian infrastructure (i.e. water and sewage systems), though restrictions on other materials mean that infrastructure continues to function below capacity (see below). Without reconstruction materials it is impossible to rebuild the more than 3,500 homes destroyed and the approximately 56,000 homes damaged, in addition to over a thousand businesses, factories, and other c ommercial establishments destroyed and partially damaged during the war. Even if construction materials were permitted in to fix the estimated $45 million in damage to private sector establishments, the ban on import and export ensures that these businesses would likely lay idle, as 97% of factories generally have done so for over two and half years. Some cement enters via the tunnels beneath the Gaza-Egypt border, but prices are beyond the reach of most residents, and many international organizations are restricted from using these materials.

Water, Sewage and Electricity Infrastructure
True: “Israel is conducting a dialogue with Robert Serry, special emissary of the UN Secretary-General, regarding vital humanitarian projects, primarily relating to sewer systems”.
More True: Dialogue notwithstanding, Israeli restrictions on supply of spare parts and materials for the devastated water and electricity systems mean that 10,000 people are without running water, 40,000 people are cut off from electricity, and power outages lasting 8 hours, four times per week are a common occurrence in most homes.

Education: Children paying the price

True: UNRWA schools recently received shipments of education materials, including notebooks and pencils.
More true: UNRWA is the only agency permitted to receive school supplies in Gaza, and only after Israel delayed the entrance of these items for several months. Israel continues to ban the entrance of supplies for two-thirds of the schools in Gaza, the private and government-run schools which educate 240,199 children.

The final section of the MFA newsletter includes a quote by EU Special Representative to the Middle East, Marc Otte. Find here another important statement made by Marc Otte recently in an interview for Al Quds newspaper, describing the EU position on the closure:
“[The] Gaza closure and denying entry to construction materials is morally unacceptable and is a failure. I was in Gaza last week, there were large quantities of cement in Gaza, but the only people who do not get it are the ones who most need it. For this, ban on constructions materials is not acceptable and I have explained this to the Israelis and told them that this is also not in their interest. Our position is clear, especially that winter is coming, and people can not live in tents in the cold and under the rain”.

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