WikiLeaks: Israel kept Gaza on brink of collapse
Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza's economy "on the brink of collapse" while avoiding a humanitarian crisis, WikiLeaks has revealed.Source: Tanjug
Israel’s actions have been widely criticized.
Norwegian daily Aftenposten claims that it has all 250,000 U.S. cables leaked to WikiLeaks and it has cited three of them which show that Israel kept the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv informed about its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
"As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge," Reuters has quoted one of the cables.
More than 1.3mn of Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement.
Israel, the U.S. and the EU consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, renounce violence and recognize the existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Israel has introduced the blockade of the Gaza Strip in mid-2007 when Hamas seized power in the territory by force after defeating forces of a more moderate, rival Fatah movement.
Israel wanted the Palestinian coastal territory's economy "functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis," according to the November 3, 2008 cable.
In a speech in January of 2008, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced such policy, which has since been eased in the wake of an international criticism of a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to break the blockade on May 31, 2010.
"We will not harm the supply of food for children, medicine for those who need it and fuel for institutions that save lives," Olmert said and explained: “But there is no justification for demanding we allow residents of Gaza to live normal lives while shells and rockets are fired from their streets and courtyards (at southern Israel)."
Israel claims that it has significantly eased the blockade since May and that dozens of truckloads of goods are entering the territory every day.
However, aid organizations have said that shipments should be increased further. Residents of the impoverished Gaza Strip say that they are still living in a prison and have called for an opening of the borders in order to allow normal trade and other links with the world.