Israeli officials take great umbrage when anyone accuses them of occupying Gaza.
“We unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, removed our settlers and soldiers, what more do you want? We are NOT occupying Gaza.”
Hamas apparently agrees that Gaza is not occupied, or so they said in 2011.
Netanyahu’s government is also trying to make the argument that the West Bank is not occupied, contrary to international law and world opinion.
A report by a committee formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to examine the legal aspects of West Bank land ownership rejects the claim that Israel’s presence in the territory is that of an occupying force and asserts that its settlements and settlement outposts there are legal.
So what should we make of Israel’s refusal this week to allow a delegation of EU Parliamentarians into Gaza?
Six members of an EU Parliament delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council were due to visit Gaza from Oct. 27-30 in a trip largely focused on social, economic and humanitarian issues, including visits to UNRWA health centers, schools, food distribution centers, rehabilitation centers and sports clubs.
The MEPs, from a cross-section of political parties representing six EU member states, were informed in an email by Israeli authorities that they would not be allowed into Gaza via the Erez crossing for the three-day visit, which also included trips to Christian schools, a sports clubs and the University of Palestine.
Israel asserts that the proposed visit by the EU delegation will strengthen Hamas, but I suspect this rejection might be a childish game of tit-for-tat following the EU’s proclamation this summer regarding trade with Israel.
Israel says who can enter and exit Gaza. Israel decides what food, goods and materials can pass through to Gaza, and lets virtually no exports out. Israeli soldiers shoot and kill Palestinian fishermen who exceed the arbitrary 3 km distance from shore. Palestinian farmers who tend their lands near the arbitrary buffer zone risk their lives as well. Israeli drones fly over the skies in Gaza night and day.
Is Israel occupying Gaza or not? They can’t have it both ways.
The good thing about the ceasefire following the November 2012 bombardment was that “by agreeing to negotiate freedom of movement for Gazans, Israel admitted – with the whole world watching – that 1.7 million Gazans are not free. A victory for truth in the “information war.”
This week Israel proves once more who is the jailer and who is the prisoner. Apparently, the prisoner has no visitation rights in Gaza.