Jewish Journal

Israeli Math Argues For An End to Gaza Blockade

by Pini Herman

November 21, 2012 | 3:25 pm

Remove tunneling for food incentives and tunnels will be only for weapons and missiles.

The blockade of Gaza must end.  The Gazan's term it a "siege",  which connotes an effort to break a population's will through starvation.  There is no reported current food shortage as was characterized by the  2006 to 2010 blockade period., following a June 2010 lifting of  restrictions of food and consumer goods  imports.

I was doubtful of these claims, as the Israeli government claims to adequate humanitarian supplies.  The court-ordered release of the Israeli Defense Ministry's own estimates documents the observed truck deliveries, 17% of 2006 levels while the population has grown an estimated 13% and food needs increased during the the 2006 to 2010 period.

By the Israeli Defense Ministry’s caloric calculations of how many trucks of food to allow into Gaza, actual delivery fell to only 63% of what is needed to prevent malnutrition for a Gaza Strip population estimated at 1,476,294 in 2007 and current estimates are 1.7 million (17%growth). Without smuggled food entering through the tunnels (as documented in this month's National Geographic Magazine), by the Defense Ministry’s own estimate, during the the 2006 to 2010 period malnutrition in Gaza, but for smuggled food, might have been rampant.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Health officials undertook nutrition estimates which led to the conclusion that a daily shipment of 106 trucks to the Gaza Strip per business day would suffice for supplying its residents with their “daily humanitarian portion,” that is, to prevent malnutrition. By comparison, before June 2007, on average, more than 400 trucks entered the Gaza Strip every day. From June 2007 to Sept. 2012 just 67 trucks on average to enter Gaza per business day during the the 2006 and 2010 period.. The Israeli Defense Ministry document was released two month ago after a long court effort by Gisha.

Update (11/23/12): The Los Angeles Times published a story on 11/23/12 on the blockade and  that Israel relaxed its blockade restrictions on the importation of food and most other goods in 2010 following the Gaza flotilla raid. The Atlantic magazine's Robert Wright (11/19/12) learned that apparently Israel hasn't articulated clear conditions under which the blockade would end.  One of the range of Israeli justifications Wright cites for the blockade, which may be most relevant to food restrictions, is "compelling the Palestinian population to overthrow the Hamas government."

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (and author of the “most recent” 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population which was the third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archive in 2011) and is a past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

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Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

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