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Argument: Israel failed its responsibilities as an occupier of Gaza

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Dan Izenberg. "Is it legal to shut off water and electricity to Gaza?". The Jerusalem Post. September 6, 2007 - "According to Gisha Israel completely controls the Gaza Strip's territorial waters airspace and land border crossings. It collects the Gaza Strip's customs and is in charge of its population registry. Therefore it continues to "effectively" occupy the Gaza Strip. This position is backed internationally. The UN secretary-general's spokesman issued a statement saying: The UN welcomed the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in August 2005. However, there has been no change in our characterization of the Gaza Strip as occupied territory. According to Hebrew University international law expert Yuval Shani if one believes that Israel still occupies Gaza the measures being considered by the government are patently illegal. This is because as an occupying power Israel would be actively responsible for the welfare of the civilian population and would be violating the law if it did the opposite."

"Palestinian civilians as political currency". Jerusalem Post. December 5, 2007 - It is likely that Israel's security needs require continued control over Gaza for the near future. But with this control comes responsibility. The writer is Executive Director of B'Tselem: the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

A cancer diagnosis is terrifying, but it does not have to be a death sentence. Hopefully, with the proper care, you will recover and continue with your life. Unless you live in the Gaza Strip.

Take Mahmoud Abu Taha. A few months ago, the 21 year- old Palestinian from the Rafah refugee camp was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. The poorly-equipped hospitals in Gaza had neither the trained professionals nor the essential supplies to treat him and his condition quickly deteriorated. With the crossing to Egypt closed, the only option left was to refer him to an Israeli hospital, with expenses covered by the Palestinian Authority.

But Israel would not let him through. It took 10 days to convince officials that the emaciated, bedridden young man posed no security threat. When his ambulance was finally let through the checkpoint, it was too late. He died several hours after entering Israel. The lengthy delay raises heavy doubts as to whether security clearance was the only consideration at stake here. Mahmoud is not the only person from Gaza to have come up against this policy. In the past six months, dozens of critical patients who cannot receive the treatment they needed in Gaza have been trapped by Israeli authorities, denied access to any country that can offer them the lifesaving treatment they need.

Israel cannot pretend it is not responsible for these people. [...] The situation has deteriorated even more since Hamas took control of Gaza last June. With the declared intention of pressuring Hamas Israel has clamped down on all exits from Gaza. The Rafah crossing to Egypt under joint Egyptian and Palestinian authority is closed by Israeli injunction. Crossings into Israel which also serve as the only passage to Jordan and the West Bank are only rarely open. Residents of the Gaza Strip are imprisoned.

There is no dispute over the fact that Israel must take measures to stop the rocket-fire and ensure that residents of southern Israel enjoy their basic right to live in safety. It is likely that Israel's security needs require continued control over Gaza for the near future. But with this control comes responsibility. With Israeli and Palestinian negotiators preparing for the first round of post-Annapolis talks the most pressing issue on the agenda has to be the humanitarian situation in Gaza."

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