Israeli Army document: Rafah closed as collective punishment
The shock! the horror!
An Internal Military Document, Haaretz revealed, has raised strong suspicions that-*gasp* -Israeli security officials are keeping Rafah Crossing closed to apply "pressure" (see: torture) on the civlian population of Gaza.
Sari Bashi and the good folks at GISHA, the Center for the legal protection of freedom of movement, filed an appeal with Amir Peretz based on the information, demanding the crossing be open (not that he's likely to listen, but still) and that he stop "the collective punishment against 1.4 million Palestinians who have been trapped in the Gaza Strip for 10 weeks", a situation that has become accepted as the status quo (does everyone out there realize, we are speaking about hermeticaly sealing a border and a million and a half people, like animals in a zoo, which probably get better treatment). Here is the full release:
"An internal document published today in Haaretz raises strong suspicions that the crossing was closed in order to apply pressure on Gaza residents. The document reveals that the position of the Shin Bet is that Rafah Crossing should be closed hermetically, without interruptions, as long as there is no progress in the matter of the abducted soldier. The reason given was to apply pressure on the civilian population. This position has apparently been given significant weight by the security authorities, who do not permit the crossing to open.
Since June 25, 2006, Rafah Crossing has been closed, except for five days in which limited passage was permitted. The closure has effectively punished 1.4 million men, women and children by locking them in a big prison. Patients cannot get medical treatment; students cannot reach universities abroad; family members are separated from each other, and Gaza residents, 60% of whom live in poverty, cannot reach sources of livelihood. Gaza residents outside the Strip cannot return home, because Rafah is Gaza's only gateway to travel abroad.
According to the letter written by Attorney Sari Bashi, Gisha's Executive Director:
"Imprisoning 1.4 million Gaza residents to apply pressure on those who are holding the abducted soldier – despite how painful and important that subject is – constitutes collective punishment in violation of international law." Using the closure to apply pressure contradicts Israel statements to the European observers who monitor the crossing. Israel has claimed that the crossing must be closed because of security warnings.
The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits collective punishment of residents of an occupied territory."
For further details: contact Sari Bashi at 03-6092183 or 054-2357579, firstname.lastname@example.org.