Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[Fwd: FW: Fact Sheet: Future of Gaza Strip]

Expand Messages
  • Ron Cohen
    ... Subject: FW: Fact Sheet: Future of Gaza Strip Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2005 15:23:20 +0100 From: Chris Doyle To: Chris Doyle
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: FW: Fact Sheet: Future of Gaza Strip
      Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2005 15:23:20 +0100
      From: Chris Doyle <doylec@...>
      To: Chris Doyle <doylec@...>



      Circulated as requested at the last JCP meeting.


      Chris Doyle
      Director

      CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding)


      1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE
      Tel: 020 7832 1310
      Fax: 020 7832 1329
      www.caabu.org


      This e-mail, and any attachment, is confidential. If you have received
      it in error, please delete it from your system, do not use or disclose
      the information in any way, and notify CAABU immediately. The contents
      of this message may contain personal views which are not the views of
      CAABU, unless specifically stated.



      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      *From:* Diana Buttu [mailto:diana@...]
      *Sent:* 05 September 2005 11:01
      *To:* diana@...
      *Subject:* Fact Sheet: Future of Gaza Strip

      *Palestinian Technical Team on Israel’s Evacuation*

      * *

      *Israel**’s Unilateral Disengagement: *

      *Future of the Gaza Strip*

      * *

      *September 1, 2005*



      /Although the colonization of the Gaza Strip has now to an end (with the
      evacuation of the settlers), Israel’s military occupation of the Gaza
      Strip and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) continues. Israel
      strictly controls all access in and out of the Occupied Gaza Strip
      thereby controlling the movement of both goods and people. And, while
      the Israeli Army may soon evacuate the Gaza Strip, the Army will
      continue to strictly control all Palestinian movement. Below is an
      update on the status of coordination with Israel. /

      / /

      / /

      *_Rafah Crossing Point_*

      * *

      *Background:* The Rafah crossing point is the only Palestinian access
      point into Egypt. Although the crossing point is situated more than 6
      kilometers away from the border with Israel, Israel maintains complete
      control over Palestinian movement (both people and goods) at this and
      every other entry and exit point. Under Israeli orders, an estimated
      700 Palestinians per day are allowed to leave the Gaza Strip (to Egypt)
      and the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza are denied the ability to
      travel. (An estimated 90 percent of Palestinians in Gaza are routinely
      denied the ability to travel and Israel currently imposes travel
      restrictions on Palestinian males aged 16 to 35).



      While Israel claims that it is “disengaging” from the Occupied Gaza
      Strip, it wishes to continue to control the movement of Palestinians in
      and out of the Occupied Gaza Strip, while removing its presence from the
      Rafah crossing point and the Philadelphi belt. Accordingly, Israel
      seeks to move the Rafah crossing point to Kerem Shalom – inside Israel
      located at the southeast corner of the Gaza Strip, bordering both Egypt
      and Israel – where it can control all Palestinian movement.



      *Palestinian Position:* Palestinians should be granted complete freedom
      of movement, without interference by Israel. Accordingly, Palestinians
      are opposed to the movement of the crossing point to Kerem Shalom as
      this only serves to cement Israeli control over Palestinians. If Israel
      truly seeks to “disengage” from the Gaza Strip, it should cease its
      control over the Occupied Gaza Strip.



      *Status:* Israel continues to insist on the movement of the crossing
      point to Kerem Shalom despite Palestinian and Egyptian objections to the
      contrary.





      *_Customs Envelope_*



      *Background: *The Palestinian Authority and Israel currently maintain a
      customs arrangement regulating the movement of goods. The Paris
      Protocol, signed in 1994 and ratified in 1995, created one “customs
      envelope” in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory (“OPT”), whereby
      goods entering into the envelope are taxed only once and goods within
      the envelope are not taxed. For example, goods entering the Gaza Strip
      from Egypt are taxed upon entry but if transported to Israel or to the
      West Bank are not taxed again. The Paris Protocol also specified which
      goods could be imported into OPT. Owing to Israel’s control over all
      border crossings, Israel has maintained control over the Palestinian
      economy: Palestinian goods are often detained for weeks or months at
      Israeli crossing points and Israel denies the free import of goods
      (including those included in the Paris Protocol). Furthermore,
      Palestinian businesspeople have often resorted to using Israeli
      intermediaries to import and export goods. Accordingly, tariffs that
      would normally go to the Palestinian Authority go to Israel via the
      Israeli intermediary. Nonetheless, the Palestinian economy can
      immediately benefit from the Protocol’s proper implementation: if
      Palestinian goods are allowed to move freely and if the Palestinian
      Authority receives the tariffs that are withheld by Israel international
      trade could be improved.



      Israel wants to move the crossing point to Kerem Shalom. It wants to
      maintain Israeli customs officers there to ensure that only specified
      goods are imported into Gaza and thereby control the Palestinian
      economy. Otherwise, it has threatened to cancel the customs envelope.



      *Palestinian Position: *The movement of the Rafah crossing point to
      Kerem Shalom will ensure Gaza’s continued dependence on Israel, as
      Israel would continue to control Gaza’s access to and from Egypt and
      also continue economic control over the area. Furthermore, the movement
      of the border crossing to Kerem Shalom is not logical: if Israeli
      customs officials are present in Kerem Shalom, it casts doubt on
      Israel’s claim that it will allow the Palestinians to freely operate a
      seaport, for Israeli official will also need to be present at the
      seaport, situated well within OPT. Therefore, if Israel wishes to
      maintain the customs union, it welcomes *a third party* to ensure smooth
      functioning and transfer of the Rafah crossing point to Palestinian
      control post evacuation and to monitor customs arrangements. This move
      would represent an important step towards Gaza’s successful economic
      recovery following 38 years of Israeli de-development. /For more
      information on the Gazan economy see: Sara Roy, The Gaza Strip: The
      Political Economy of De-Development (1995)/



      *Status: *Israel has not yet agreed to the presence of a third party to
      monitor customs and continues to insist on the movement of the crossing
      point to Kerem Shalom.

      *_ _*

      *_ _*

      *_Palestinian_**_ Airport_**__*



      *Background: *The Palestinian International Airport was opened in 1998
      by Presidents Clinton and Arafat and serviced Palestinians seeking to
      fly in and out of the Occupied Gaza Strip. The airport operated under
      the strict control of Israel. In 2000, the Israeli Army closed the
      airport and several months later destroyed the runway and control tower,
      with estimated damages exceeding more than USD $8 million. It has
      remained closed.



      *Palestinian Position: *The Palestinian Authority seeks to rebuild the
      airport immediately at an estimated cost of USD $26 million. Following
      the evacuation of the Israeli Army, the Palestinian Authority seeks to
      open the airport.



      *Status:* * *Israel has indicated that it will allow the Palestinian
      Authority to rebuild the airport after its evacuation but it has not yet
      provided answers as to whether it will allow the Palestinian Authority
      to operate the airport following the evacuation. Under the terms of the
      “Disengagement Plan” Israel will retain complete control over
      Palestinian airspace.





      *_Movement of Goods within the OPT and between the OPT and Israel_***



      *Background: *Currently, Israel exercises complete control over the
      Palestinian economy by controlling the movement of Palestinians and
      their goods. In the Occupied West Bank, for example, Israel maintains
      hundreds of checkpoints and barriers designed to fragment Palestinian
      communities. Palestinian goods are subject to a “back-to-back” system
      of movement, wherein Palestinian goods are unloaded and reloaded onto
      different trucks several times before reaching their final destination.
      For example, goods originating from Hebron (in the Occupied West Bank)
      destined for Nablus (also in the Occupied West Bank) must be unloaded
      and reloaded an estimated seven times. Obviously this increases
      transportation costs and the time for which goods reach their destination.



      Furthermore, Israel does not maintain systematized rules or procedures
      for the movement of Palestinian goods, thereby increasing risk and
      uncertainty among investors. In the Karni terminal (the sole terminal
      for the movement of Palestinian goods from the Occupied Gaza Strip),
      rules for the movement of goods are frequently changed by the Israelis.
      Today, a mere 50 trucks per day of Palestinian goods are allowed to
      leave the terminal, owing to the onerous and unpredictable searches.
      Israeli goods, which do not have to go through any security procedures,
      are shipped in daily on more than 300 trucks. Accordingly, Israeli
      goods are often less expensive to Palestinians and therefore the
      Palestinians remain a captive market to the Palestinians.



      *Palestinian Position: *Israel can easily improve the economy by simply
      removing its barriers and checkpoints and by allowing Palestinian goods
      to move based on international principles of “door-to-door” wherein
      Palestinian goods are freely allowed to move without onerous security
      searches that are not imposed on Israeli goods. By creating certainty
      among investors, the economy of the Gaza Strip can be revitalized and
      improved. The World Bank is in agreement with this conclusion:
      “Palestinian economic recovery depends on a radical easing of internal
      closures throughout the West Bank [and Gaza] the opening of Palestinian
      external borders to commodity trade, and sustaining a reasonable flow of
      Palestinian labor into Israel.” See /Disengagement,/ /The Palestinian
      Economy and the Settlements”, /the World Bank, June 15, 2004.



      *Status:* Israeli Minister of Defense, Mofaz, agreed on the
      “door-to-door” system of movement of goods in the presence of Quartet
      Special Envoy James Wolfensohn but in later technical discussion
      expressed that it is impossible to implement as Israel has put forward
      such high security specifications for any scanner that would be used at
      crossing points – so high that not a single scanner in the world exists
      that meets these specifications. International experts do not support
      the Israeli position.





      *_Seaport_*



      *Background:* In 1999, in the Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement between the PLO
      and Israel, it was agreed that a seaport would be opened in Gaza for
      exclusive Palestinian use. In July 2000, construction began on the
      seaport but this construction was unilaterally halted by Israel in
      October 2000, as Israel refused to facilitate the movement of needed
      construction materials. The seaport will take an estimated 2 years to
      build. Under the terms of the “Disengagement Plan” Israel will continue
      to control Palestinian territorial waters.



      *Palestinian Position:* The Palestinian Authority seeks to build and
      operate the seaport in order to improve the Palestinian economy and
      reduce reliance upon Israel’s ports.



      *Status:* While Israel has agreed to the construction of the seaport,
      it has not yet provided details as to how it will facilitate the
      construction of the port, as the materials need to be brought into the
      Gaza Strip from the West Bank and elsewhere. Israel has also failed to
      sign a letter to the donor community indicating that it is willing to
      facilitate the construction of the airport. This letter is needed in
      order to secure donor funds to assist in the construction of the seaport.







      *_Safe Passage and Freedom of Movement_*



      *Background: *Currently, Palestinians require Israeli permits to
      travel: (1) within the Occupied West Bank; (2) between the Occupied
      West Bank and the Occupied Gaza Strip and (3) to Israel. Palestinians
      in the Gaza Strip also require Israeli permission to cross international
      boundaries to visit other countries. Such permits are granted rarely
      (less than 30 percent of the Palestinian population receives such
      permits) and in the Occupied Gaza Strip, approximately 90 percent of the
      Palestinian population are denied the ability to travel.



      Under the Oslo Agreements, Israel was supposed to have instituted a
      “safe passage” between the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to ensure
      freedom of movement for Palestinians within Occupied Palestinian
      Territory. Passage through the “safe passage” remained subject to
      strict Israeli control and in 2000 Israel closed the safe passage route
      thereby isolating the Occupied Gaza Strip from the rest of Occupied
      Palestinian Territory.



      *Palestinian Position: *In order to ensure that Palestinians are not
      enclosed in a large prison, freedom of movement must be guaranteed.
      Yet, while Israel asserts that it wants to “disengage” from the Occupied
      Gaza Strip, it wants to retain control over Palestinians (and hence
      their economy) by denying freedom of movement. Israel also seeks to
      ensure that the Gaza Strip is cut off from the rest of Occupied
      Palestinian Territory.



      *Status: *Israel has yet to respond to whether freedom of movement for
      Palestinians will be guaranteed: whether Palestinians will be able to
      travel to the rest of Occupied Palestinian Territory; whether
      Palestinians will continue to require Israeli permission to leave the
      Gaza Strip and whether Palestinians will be able to freely travel
      throughout the Occupied West Bank. While many discussions have taken
      place on the mode for transportation (sunken road, railroad, convoy),
      these discussions remain inconclusive.







      *_Status of Area to be Evacuated_*



      *Background:* Under the Oslo Agreements, Israel divided the Occupied
      West Bank into three areas:



      * Area A – *This area consists of approximately 17.2% of the
      Occupied West Bank, divided into 13 separate, non-contiguous
      areas*. The Palestinian Authority has responsibility for internal
      security and has wide civil powers. **
      * Area B – The area consists of *23.8%* of the West Bank. The
      Palestinian Authority has civil control over the area, but overall
      security control rests with Israel. For all practical purposes,
      since September 2000, Area B has functionally ceased to exist and
      has been under full Israeli control.
      * Area C – This area consists of *59%* of the Occupied West Bank.
      Israel has full security and civil responsibility over these
      areas. This is the only contiguous area in the Occupied West
      Bank; it surrounds and divides Areas A and B. This area is
      primarily situated around the Israeli colonies of the West Bank.
      The colonies themselves are /not /subject to the classification of
      Area A, B or C.





      *Palestinian Position:* Given that Israel has dismantled four colonies
      in the Occupied West Bank, there, the evacuated areas surrounding the
      colonies should become “Area A” and therefore fall within the complete
      control of the Palestinian Authority.



      *Status:* Israel wants keep the area under full Israeli control –
      “Area C” and will only allow access to the area with “coordination.”
      Accordingly, the Israeli Army will remain present in the area, thereby
      denying Palestinians freedom of movement in the area. In other words,
      Israel will maintain complete control over the area.



      /For additional information, please contact:/

      /Diana Buttu /+972-599-604-657














      ________________________________________________________________________
      All CAABU email has been scanned for all viruses by the MessageLabs
      Email Security System. For more information on a proactive email
      security service working around the clock, around the globe, visit
      http://www.messagelabs.com
      ________________________________________________________________________

      ________________________________________________________________________
      All CAABU email has been scanned for all viruses by the MessageLabs
      Email Security System. For more information on a proactive email
      security service working around the clock, around the globe, visit
      http://www.messagelabs.com
      ________________________________________________________________________
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.