Gaza:Facts the BBC doesnít tell us

 

The Agreement on Movement and Access

 

In November 2005, in the wake of Israelís withdrawal of its settlers and ground troops from Gaza, Israel signed the Agreement on Movement and Access [1], which provided for, amongst other things:

 

(1)   continuous operation of crossings between Israel and Gaza for the import and export of goods and the transit of people

(2)   the building of a seaport in Gaza

(3)   re-opening of the airport in Gaza

(4)   bus and truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza

 

 

2006 Palestinian elections

 

Hamas was the victor in the January 2006 Palestinian elections, winning 74 out of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.Fatah won 45 seats and other parties 13 [2].These elections were universally agreed to be free and fair.

 

Hamas won a majority of the seats in both the West Bank (30 out of 42) and Gaza (15 out of 24) [2].

 

The EU, including the UK, adamantly refused to accept the outcome of these elections and to deal with Hamas-led governments formed on the basis of them.

 

 

Israel-Hamas agreements

 

Hamas has twice made agreements with Israel, involving

(a)   the cessation of all Israeli military action against Gaza

(b)   the cessation of all Palestinian military action from Gaza against Israel, and

(c)    the lifting of Israelís blockade against Gaza.

 

Israelís last military offensive against Gaza in November 2012 (Operation Pillar of Cloud) ended with an Egyptian-brokered agreement along these lines [3].

 

Israel didnít cease military incursions into Gaza and didnít take any steps to end its blockade of Gaza [4].

 

By contrast, Hamas maintained a ceasefire for almost 20 months until 7 July 2014 [4].

 

Under a similar agreement in 2008, Hamas maintained a ceasefire for four and a half months, while Israel failed to fulfil its obligations under the agreement [5].

 

It is reasonable to conclude that, had Israel adhered to the terms of either of these agreements, rocket and mortar fire from Gaza would have ceased permanently.

 

 

Fatalities due to rocket and mortar fire

 

From September 2005 (when Israel withdrew its settlers and ground troops from Gaza) until 8 July 2014 (when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge), a total of 21 people (18 civilians and 3 military personnel) were killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza [6].

 

Of these, only 11 (the last in October 2011) were killed outside of Israelís previous two major campaigns, Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Cloud [6].

 

During the same period, nearly 3,000 Palestinians, the vast majority non-combatants, were killed by Israeli military action in Gaza.Of these, 1,391 died during Operation Cast Lead and 171 during Operation Pillar of Cloud [7].

 

 

Fatalities during Israelís latest offensive

 

During Israelís latest military offensive, Operation Protective Edge, a further 13 people have been killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, 10 of them military personnel [6].In addition, 54 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza during Israelís ground offensive [8].

 

According to an UN OCHA report of 15 August 2014, 1,975 Palestinians, including 459 children and 239 women, have been killed by Israeli military action in Gaza during the offensive [8].

 

In addition, according to an UN OCHA report of 4 August 2014, 15 Palestinian civilians were killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces during protests against Israeli military action in Gaza [9].

 

 

Fatalities during Israelís three major military offensives

 

During Israelís three major military offensives against Gaza, 63 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza (9 during Operation Cast Lead and 54 during Operation Protective Edge) and 23 people (13 Israeli soldiers and 10 civilians) have been killed in Israel by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.In other words, a total of 86 people have been killed by the Palestinian military response to these Israeli offensives, each of which was launched with the stated objective of suppressing rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.

 

By comparison, since September 2005 only 11 people have been killed at other times in Israel by Palestinian rocket and mortar from Gaza.The last of these was killed in October 2011, a year before the second of Israelís three major military offensives against Gaza.

 

 

David Morrison

19 August 2014

 

 

References:

[1]www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/peace/mfadocuments/pages/agreed%20documents%20on%20movement

%20and%20access%20from%20and%20to%20gaza%2015-nov-2005.aspx

[2]www.elections.ps/tabid/818/language/en-US/Default.aspx

[3]www.upi.com/blog/2012/11/21/Read-the-Gaza-ceasefire-deal/7401353523034/

[4]www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n16/nathan-thrall/hamass-chances

[5]sadaka.ie/Articles/Papers/PAPER-Gaza_Ceasefire.pdf

[6]mondoweiss.net/2014/07/rocket-deaths-israel.html

[7]www.btselem.org/statistics

[8]www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_sitrep_15_08_2014.pdf

[9]www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2014_8_08_english.pdf