베냐민 네타냐후(Benjamin Netanyahu) 이스라엘 총리와 버락 오바마(Barack Obama) 미국 대통령의 회담과 관련해 국제앰네스티는 이스라엘 정부에 가자 지구 봉쇄를 완전히 해제할 것을 요청했다.
두 정상은 이스라엘이 새로운 규정에 따라 가자 지구에 소비재 반입을 허용한 이틀 뒤인 7일 회담 이틀째에 접어들었다.
이러한 규제완화에도 불구하고 필수적인 건축자제의 반입은 제한되고 있으며, 수출 및 주민들의 이동에 대한 제한도 그대로 유지되고 있다. 또 이스라엘은 가자 지구의 영공, 영해 및 이스라엘-가자 분계선에 대한 봉쇄를 계속하고 있다.
국제앰네스티 말콤 스마트(Malcolm Smart) 중동 및 북아프리카 국장은 “이번 봉쇄 완화조치를 환영하지만, 가자 주민들이 겪 고 있는 피해를 그치게 하는 데에는 역부족이다”며 “가자 주민 5명 중 4명이 원조에 의존하고 있으며, 새 집을 짓는데 필요한 기초적인 건축자제를 제공받지 못하고 있다”고 말했다.
이어서 스마트 국장은 “가자 주민들이 안정적인 생활을 누리고 경제를 재건하기 위해서는 수출금지조치를 해제하는 것이 필수적이다”고 말했다.
US-Israel talks must seek end to Gaza blockade
7 July 2010
Amnesty International reiterated its call on Israel to completely lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip as Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu met US President Barack Obama in Washington this week.
The two leaders are to enter a second day of talks on Wednesday, two days after Israel’s announcement that consumer goods will be allowed into Gaza under their new rules.
However, despite the easing of the blockade, crucial building materials continue to be restricted. There is also no change to the general ban on exports or the movement of people, while the blockade remains in place through Israel’s tight control of Gaza’s airspace, territorial waters and its crossing points with Israel.
“Any easing of the blockade is welcome, but this falls far short of what is needed to end the harm being caused to Gaza’s population, four out of five of whom are dependent on aid,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director.
“Palestinians are still trapped in Gaza and still face restricted access on the basic construction materials that they need to rebuild their homes,” said Malcolm Smart.
“It is vital that the bar on exports from Gaza is lifted if Gazans are to be able to rebuild their lives and the economy.”
Israel says all items will be allowed into Gaza except arms, munitions and what it describes as “dual-use” items. Building materials such as steel and cement will only be allowed into Gaza under Israeli supervision and if they are to be used in projects overseen by the UN or other international agencies. They must also have been authorized by the Palestinian Authority based in the Israeli-occupied West
“Banning the vast majority of exports, raw materials and the movement of people has destroyed the economy of Gaza and pushed its population into unemployment, poverty and dependency on aid agencies for survival. These problems will not be solved while the blockade continues,” said Malcolm Smart.
The continued restriction on building materials for general use will further delay the reconstruction by Palestinians in Gaza of their homes, businesses and other property destroyed in Israeli attacks in December 2008 and January 2009.
More than 3,000 homes and hundreds of other properties including factories, farms and government buildings were destroyed, and more than 20,000 damaged, in Israel’s military operation “Cast Lead”.
Israeli restrictions prevent the movement of Palestinians through the crossing points from Gaza into Israel in all but a handful of cases, generally in exceptional humanitarian cases.
“Instead of continuing these restrictions, Israel must comply with its obligations as the occupying power under international law and immediately lift the blockade in its entirety,” said Malcolm Smart.
After Hamas took control in Gaza in June 2007, the existing Israeli policy of closure was tightened to a blockade restricting the entry of food, fuel and other basic goods. Movement of medical cases in and out of the area became restricted and delayed. Gazan families are not allowed to visit relatives in Israeli jails.
This situation was made worse by the general closure of the Rafah crossing (Gaza’s single crossing point with Egypt) to daily use by the Egyptian authorities. After 2007 Rafah was opened only intermittently to allow some occasional movement.
Following Israel’s military action on 31 May against the aid flotilla in international waters outside Gaza, the Egyptian authorities announced they were opening the Rafah crossing point “indefinitely”.
However, Egypt has yet to permit fully free passage of Palestinians into its territory, allowing entry only to Palestinians with specially obtained permits.
As the occupying power, Israel bears the foremost responsibility for ensuring the welfare of the inhabitants of Gaza.