by Joseph Klein
John Ging, the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Operations in
Ging noted that Gaza's infrastructure was in a state of collapse, as there was no legitimate economy anymore due to lack of commercial trade into or out of the area, nor was there any prospect of a restoration of it as long as the blockade instituted by Israel at the border crossings continued. He also blamed the blockade for preventing the import of vital construction materials needed to build more UNRWA-run schools and classrooms to accommodate the expanding child population in
While acknowledging some recent positive developments as
"So, if we can have 20 truckloads of aluminium (sic) a month; then why not 50? And if you can have 50, why not a 100?" Ging asked.
Ging blamed the current situation on the failure to implement the detailed Agreement on Movement and Access in
What Ging neglected to mention is that Hamas and its radical Islamic allies bear much of the blame for the human suffering in
For its part,
The Palestinian Authority had agreed on a number of key security measures, including:
• Using international experts and Israeli recommendations to develop a
comprehensive security plan for one of the key border crossings;
• Establishing a secure perimeter to include security fencing, cameras, and motion detectors;
• Establishing a central security control room;
• Procuring appropriate cargo scanning equipment; and
• Developing and documenting security procedures and instructions, including those for coordination with Israeli personnel, and for the training of security personnel.
Even after Hamas won a majority of legislative seats in January 2006 on a platform that included the vow to destroy the Jewish state, the truckloads continued to flow into and out of
"The earthquake in the Zionist towns will start again and the aggressors will have no choice but to prepare their coffins or their luggage."
The Al Montar/Karni crossing was the main crossing of the Gaza Strip for both imports and exports. This was the crossing that the Palestinian Authority was supposed to help secure in particular. That did not happen. Nevertheless, between December 2005 and June 2007, according to the Palestine Trade Association, an average of 450 truckloads a day was imported, and an average of 70 truckloads a day was exported. Sufa was used exclusively for the imports of construction materials, with a daily average of about 160 truckloads.
The event that forced
Beginning June 14, 2007, the Al Montar/Karni crossing was officially closed for both imports and exports. The crossing reopened on June 28, 2007 for limited imports of goods such as wheat and animal feed. Since then, Sufa and Karem Abu Salem /Kerem Shalom crossings were also used, primarily for imports of humanitarian goods, including basic food commodities (e.g. wheat flour, rice, pulses, cooking oil), animal feed and medical equipment. From January 2008 until June 19, 2008, when a ceasefire between Hamas and
During the cease-fire or "hudna" period, that started on June 19, 2008 and ended on December 19, 2008, commercial goods were allowed to enter the Gaza Strip including aggregates, cement, construction metal, wood, car tires, clothes, shoes, and fruit juice, but at a much diminished rate compared to the pre-coup period. Hamas "concession" was to agree to stop the launching of unprovoked rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.
Hamas put on a show of discouraging rocket attacks from other terrorist groups during the cease-fire period but explicitly stated it would not police the border with
Hamas believed that its restraint in tamping down rocket attacks against innocent Israeli civilians should have been rewarded by an end of the Israeli blockade altogether. Hamas conditioned its willingness to extend the cease-fire upon the complete lifting of the blockade even though by November 2008 about 700 truck loads of goods went into
Hamas' offer of undertaking to continue trying to stop all rocket attacks against
On December 20, 2008, Hamas officially announced that it would not agree to extend the cease-fire, which had expired on December 19th, citing Israeli border closures as the primary reason, and resumed its shelling of the western
Since coming to power in
It is Hamas that continues to hold its own people hostage to its extremist agenda rather than act like the responsible partner for peace that
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