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Myth:

Israel is imposing a blockade on Gaza which makes it an open-air prison

Source:

IDSF

Fact:

Much like any international border, Israel shares a border with Gaza. This border is internationally recognized as part of the 1949 armistice with Egypt with minor revisions. As a sovereign country, Israel has a right to protect its borders and does not have to allow Gazans into Israel, much like Syria and Lebanon do not allows Israelis to cross the border into their territories.


Egypt shared a land border with Gaza that stretches 14km (7.5 mi), on which Israel has no control. If Israel allows Gazan workers and patients to leave Gaza into Israel, Egypt allows a small percentage of that amount into its territory from Gaza. Israel has no control over the Egypt-Gaza land border.


Prior to the war, Israel has allowed around 20,000 Gaza civilians to work in Israel daily. Israel has issued permits to Gazans to go to Judea and Samaria and even be treated in Israeli hospitals. In fact, there were more Gazans crossing the border with Israel than the border with Egypt in the Rafah crossing. In total, the United Nations’ OCHA recorded 569,316 exits from Gaza and 548,410 entries into Gaza in 2022.  

 

Israel allows aid and supplies to enter Gaza via land, including hundreds of trucks per day carrying food, medical equipment and other humanitarian aid, after a check that these materials are not dual-use and could be used as weapons against Israel. Despite this, Israel has allowed over the last years concrete and other building materials into Gaza while expecting Hamas to use these materials to build terror tunnels against it. 


It is true that Israel imposes a maritime blockade on Gaza and blocks naval access to it, but this complies entirely with international law given Hamas’ repeated, well-documented attempts to smuggle weapons into Gaza, effectively arming itself to target Israeli citizens. In the past, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat tried smuggling weapons on board the Karine A ship alongside were other attempts to smuggle weapons via the sea.


Despite the naval blockade, Hamas continued to smuggle mass amounts of munitions, illegal goods, and even human smuggling through the vast underground tunnel network underneath the city of Rafah. Actors, chief among them Iran, facilitated this vast smuggling operation that lasted for years, even decades. Egypt, on its part, did not manage to fully control the flow of weapons and goods and prevent the armament efforts of Hamas.

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