Amnesty: Gaza is Still Under Israeli Occupation

Published: June 2nd 2010
in News » Israel

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Of course we do not back the transferring of weapons to Hamas, which is a violent regime and a violent political group which has committed war crimes. Having said that, I think the issue here is not the transferring of weapons but rather the siege Israel imposes on Gaza, which does not hurt Hamas and is not directed at Hamas, but rather is directed at a civilian population and it hurts those who are weaker and poor. This is why 4 out of 5 of Gaza’s residents require humanitarian assistance. The siege hurts the sick who cannot leave Gaza, and only in the past year, 28 people have died in this manner.


The operation was conducted on ships making their way to Gaza. I am asking a question of principle, whether Israel, which you claim is still an occupying force in Gaza, has the authority to check if there are weapons on the ship?


The answer in principle is unrelated to the occupation of Gaza. Gaza is under siege and an Israeli occupation, there is no question about it. Even by Israel’s announcement that it is imposing a siege on Gaza. The question of the search on the ships is related to a different legal question, and that is the question of sovereign authority in territorial waters versus the authority in international waters.


This is a question of principle, since Israel is inspecting for weapons through the land border crossings.


Israel does not check for the possibility of weapons entering through land border crossings. Israel transfers, what little it transfers, on its own.


There is international assistance which arrives and there is also import coming in through the Ashdod Port with weapons and ammunition, and Israel inspects it. The principle question is simple: According to Amnesty’s perception, does Israel even have the authority to check ships headed to Gaza near Gaza’s water and see if they contain weapons?


The answer is very simple. The siege is illegal. All the actions performed as part of the siege are illegal.


With your permission, I’m going back to the question because there is a question of principle regarding the raiding of a ship.


I don’t think that’s a principle question at all. I think the principle question is whether it is permitted to impose a siege on Gaza.


Does Israel have the authority to inspect a ship at a distance of 12 miles from the Gaza shore to see whether there are weapons on it?


It has the authority to do it within Israel’s territorial waters.


Also in Gaza’s waters?


Gaza doesn’t have waters, Gaza is an occupied territory under Israeli rule, it has no territorial waters because it doesn’t have sovereign authority.


You claim in your statement that only a handful of sick people from Gaza were allowed to leave to receive medical treatment. How many patients were allowed to leave Gaza to receive treatment?


I don’t have the numbers in front of me. We’re talking about very small numbers.


Are we talking about dozens?


I can’t tell you exactly.


How many patients were not allowed to leave Gaza?

Related articles: (amnesty international, occupation, siege, Itai Epstein)
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