Friday, September 19, 2014

Gaza Strip's Past Occupation and Present Blockade

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                

Gaza showing built up areas since 1967, refugee camps, crossing areas

Most Americans are uneducated about Gaza's history.  They're the ones found in demonstrations against Israel.  They've been shouting slogans like "Free Gaza!" without knowing anything about it.  They don't know that Israel left Gaza 9 years ago.  They don't know about the blockade the Egyptians have had on their side for the same reasons Israel has had a blockade or why.  They will tell you about who is winning in the NFL football league, though.  Then they'll join a demonstration against Israel without knowing facts and yell as if they're at at a football game.  It's time to wise up.
The Gaza Strip extends along the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt for 22 miles and is about 8 miles wide, like a peninsula that Florida is.  The Egyptians marched into the Negev Desert in May 1948 and Israel was on the offensive from October to December 1948 and drove them out of there but not from the Strip.  Egypt had control of the Gaza Strip then under an Armistice Agreement of 1949.  In November 1956, Israel's IDF captured it in part of their Sinai Operation.  Israel then returned it back to Egypt in March 1957.  A UN emergency Force was then stationed along the border with Israel.  In May 1967, Nasser, President of Egypt, demanded the UN force withdraw and the UN secretary-general, U Thant, agreed.  The 1967 War was the result which the Arabs started.  That's why Egypt wanted the UN out of the way.
There were 352,260 people in the Strip in 1967 of which 172,520 were Palestinian refugees who were there probably since 1948 when they left Jerusalem with the promise of the leaders taking the city for the Arabs.  Gaza is their main city.  The Jewish population had left in 1917 because of Arab attacks.  Many then returned only to be attacked again in 1929 during Arab riots against Jews led by their leaders.  In 1949 the population was 30,000 and was this big because of refugees that had come in.  Gaza's population in 1967 was 119,000.

The Gaza had been until 1948, part of the British Mandate of Palestine.  Between 1948 and 1967 it was administered by an Egyptian Military Government.  It was not annexed by Egypt.  Pending a peace settlement, in which the borders between Israel and its neighbors would be decided, it is that of territory occupied during a war (1967 Six Day War).  Israel has not annexed any part of the areas.  East Jerusalem was reunified in June 1967 with West Jerusalem, however.  Israel found that there were 388,600 living in the  Gaza Strip which is 360 sq km-140 sq miles.

Since 1967 the economy of the administered areas has been transformed from a condition of stagnation and unemployment to one of growing prosperity.  In the Gaza Strip and North Sinai, 19% of working men were jobless after the war;  in 1972, 98% of the labor force of 64,000 was employed.  Refugees were treated in the same way as local people in the matter of employment, whether for local special schemes or for work in Israel.  Work in Israel was  largely provided through 18 labor exchanges.

The number of workers employed daily in Israel rose from 4,000 in January 1969. to about 55,000 in July 1972.  Their salary rose from IL4.00 in 1966 to IL9.25 in 1972.  Daily earnings in Israel were about IL13.  Farm workers were 39% of the total employed, workers in crafts and industry were 13.8% and in building and public works 14.5%.  We live by the motto: "If you eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you will be happy and prosperous." (Bible, Psalms 128.2.)  

In the Gaza Strip and North and Central Sinai, governmental education was free.  In 1969/70, 934 local Arab teachers were employed with 5 Israelis to counsel them.  UNRWA had no secondary schools or teachers' training colleges in the Strip;  here, too, refugee children attended governmental secondary schools.  The Military Government looked after 22 teachers' training colleges with an enrollment of 638 students.  12 private schools taught adults commerce, accounting.  There were 17 private kindergartens and nursery schools.  In 1972, 2,000 secondary school graduates from Gaza were granted entry permits for study by the Egyptian Government.  

Gazans received medical treatment as a State service under local law.  It was fully financed by the Military Government.  The flight of Egyptian personnel in 1967 left only 42 doctors compared with the 90 they had had, so Israel was trying to get the Arab practitioners to return.  There were 5 government and 2 other hospitals with a total of 967 beds.  This has caused large scale Israeli aid, out-patient clinics of Israeli hospitals to serve the Gazans and Israeli specialists to visit hospitals as advisers.  El-Arish Hospital was abandoned by their Egyptian staff, so Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel adopted it.  The building was repaired.  and Israelis doctors, nurses and administrators are in charge.  A health center, with its own X-ray institute and laboratory was manned by an Israeli team.  

In the Gaza Strip, the British Mandatory law is enforced.  Senior judicial appointments had been held by Egyptians before the war.  The former local judges were reinstated by Israel and local lawyers and prosecutors were appointed to the bench.  The establishment of courts was as it had been;  a Supreme and High Court, a District Court and a Juvenile Court in Gaza, and 5 Magistrates' Courts.   

The Israeli Police shared the job of reorganizing the local constabulary, made up of local and Israeli policemen.  The local police, besides new recruits, includes men of previous Jordanian and Egyptian enrollment.  In 1971, 470 policemen were serving in the Gaza Strip and Sinai.  

Hamas Terrorists

The Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out in September 2000.

"The disengagement from Gaza Strip was proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005. By September 18, 2005, Israel was out of there. It's been 9 years since Israel was thus "occupying the Gaza Strip."  

"In his book Sharon: The Life of a Leader, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's son Gilad wrote that he gave his father the idea of the disengagement.[3] Sharon had originally dubbed his unilateral disengagement plan, the "separation plan" or Tokhnit HaHafrada before realizing that, "separation sounded bad, particularly in English, because it evoked apartheid."[4]
Sharon suggested his disengagement plan for the first time on December 18, 2003 at the Fourth Herzliya Conference. In his address to the Conference, Sharon stated that ″settlements which will be relocated are those which will not be included in the territory of the State of Israel in the framework of any possible future permanent agreement. At the same time, in the framework of the Disengagement Plan, Israel will strengthen its control over those same areas in the Land of Israel which will constitute an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement.″[5]
Sharon formally announced the plan in his April 14, 2004 letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, stating that "there exists no Palestinian partner with whom to advance peacefully toward a settlement" *

Disagreements over power showed up in 2005 between the terrorist factions of Fatah and Hamas. Someone from the West insisted this be decided by elections.  " Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not want Hamas (the Movement for Change) to be allowed to run, since the far-right Muslim fundamentalist organization had never accepted the Oslo Peace Process. Although back in the 1980s the Israelis had backed Hamas against its secular, nationalist rival, the PLO-later called Fatah, , by 2006 the two had fallen out."  The Palestinian Arabs in Gaza were divided between Fatah and Hamas terrorists who became political powers.  "On January 30, 2006, the Quartet (United States, Russia, United Nations, and European Union) conditioned future foreign assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on the future government's commitment to non-violence, recognition of the State of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements."  By June 14, 2007, a full scaled war broke out for a week between the two groups and Hamas won, meaning they ruled the Gaza Strip, and Abbas of Fatah was forced out and returned to Judea and Samaria.  

The blockade on the Gaza Strip wasn't considered until two years later after leaving it when Hamas gained control of Gaza in a cruel fratricidal battle against Fatah and Israel''s friendly hand was reciprocated with increased terror and rockets."  In order to keep ammunition that would be used against Israel out of Gazan hands, a blockade had to be in effect.  
 Rockets shot from Gaza schools, hospitals

Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, stopped and boarded by Israel, possibly carrying weapons for Gazans, May 31, 2010

Under international law Israel is within its rights to establish a maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, since Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a hostile terrorist entity that has launched missiles into Israel targeting and killing civilians, and has also infiltrated and attempted to infiltrate into Israel in order to carry out attacks. There is therefore a state of armed conflict between Hamas-ruled Gaza and the State of Israel, and in such a situation Israel is permitted, with certain limitations, to blockade the territory of its adversary.**

Resource:  The New Jewish Encyclopedia
facts about Israel published by the Division of Information Ministry for Foreign Afairs, Jerusalem 1973 * **

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