Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy


11:13 am - June 12th 2012

by Ben White    


      Share on Tumblr

Israel has a major problem explaining its Gaza policy, and it is particularly obvious when it comes to the question of exports.

To mark five years since Israel’s heightened closure of Gaza (movement restrictions actually go back to 1991), Israeli NGO Gisha released some excellent resources for understanding what 1.7 million Palestinians have been enduring.

That include information on Israel’s deliberate “separation policy” and one illustrating 5 years of closure. The data speaks for itself.

Take this graphic, for example, showing just how much Israel’s punishment of the Gaza Strip has impacted its economy.

Comparing the statistics for ‘before’ and ‘after’ puts into perspective the frequent, ludicrous boasts by the IDF about how many goods are ‘allowed’ into the territory.

Here’s another way to visualise the impact of Israel’s policies. First, here is a graph of incoming goods via Israeli crossings.

But even more shocking is the picture for exports.

I have previously found that the IDF is rather reticent to answer questions about the almost total ban on exports from Gaza.

Yesterday morning, I asked IDF Spokesperson Avital Leibovich how the extraordinarily harsh restrictions on exports from Gaza contributed to Israel’s security. Her reply?

Thus the Israeli military’s spokesperson either can not address the point at all, or, is suggesting that rocket fire is the reason for the export ban – in other words, an explicit admission of collective punishment.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest article. Ben White is a freelance journalist who has written for Guardian's CIF, Electronic Intifada and others. His book 'Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide' (Pluto Press), was published in 2009.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Foreign affairs ,Middle East

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. ex-Labour voter

On another very important subject, please ask your MP to sign EDM 96 which opposes Trident replacement. It is going very well and already has 47 signatures.

Amongst the signatories are Sir Gerald Kaufman.

A big thank you to everyone who is helping to build support for this EDM or has signed it.

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/96

Comments stick to topic please. I have no interest in, and will delete ad hominems as usual. If you have questions directly to ask of Ben on other issues, use Twitter

“Israel has a major problem explaining its Gaza policy”

No they haven’t. Gaza is governed by a hostile party intent of destroying it (and to destroy other Palestinian factions if we have to go by their penchant for “defenestration”). Hamas calls Israel the enemy and says quite openly that they don’t want peace. Their founding document calls for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews.

You don’t have any obligation to open your borders to an enemy. I’m surprised that even one truck gets to Gaza from Israel. The border with Egypt should be Gaza’s door to the world.

“Take this graphic, for example, showing just how much Israel’s punishment of the Gaza Strip has impacted its economy”

I would like to look at those statistics more closely. I wonder whether when traffic into and outside Gaza was higher, it was mostly directed to the illegal Jewish settlements there. The IDF left the place and took the settlers out. All obligations towards Gazans should have stopped then.

“can explain how this contributes to #Israel’s security?”

It’s not a problem of security. It’s a problem of enmity. If you declare out and loud that someone is your enemy, don’t whine if they don’t want to do business with you.

4. Franklin Percival

How pleasingly NAZI, “Arbeit macht frei!” How long will we allow these cretins to behave in this manner>

5. Just Visiting

With the changes in Egypt, there is scope for Egypt to fully open it’s border with Gaza.

Certainly, the past ‘normalization’ of relationship between Egypt and Israel may be in question – reading this:

Egypt has ceased the production of a film for allegedly promoting the normalization of relations with Israel, Al-Ahram reported.

Mohamed Kenawy who wrote the film’s script, denied the accusation and said the film, titled Regheef Aish (Loaf of Bread), promotes peace and cooperation among all people regardless of sex, race and religion.

The story, which revolves around an Egyptian, a ‘Palestinian’ and an Israeli, examines life in the Arab world.

The film had been under production for two months before the production was halted.

The film stars Amr Saad, Jommana Murad, Marwa, Kinda Aloush, Afaf Shoeib, and Salah Abdallah.

Relations between Israel and Egypt were marked by a persistent state of war since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. Then, in 1979, under the leadership of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat, the two countries signed a historic peace agreement, in which Israel withdrew its civilians and armed forces from the Sinai Peninsula, relinquishing it to Egyptian control. In return, Egypt agreed to a normalization of ties with Israel. Egypt also agreed to leave the area demilitarized, allow Israeli ships though the Suez Canal and recognize of the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aquaba as international waterways. A “cold peace” has existed between the two countries since.

6. Just Visiting

But even if Egypt does – it may not be plain sailing for Palastinians visiting there, for women at least:

Mob attacks women at Egypt anti-sexual harassment rally
Hundreds of men assaulted women holding a march demanding an end to sexual harassment, with the attackers overwhelming the male guardians and groping and molesting several of the female marchers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

http://muslimwomeninhistory.tumblr.com/post/24894196618/mob-attacks-women-at-egypt-anti-sex-assault-rally-ap

If Israel allowed Gaza to use its port but kept the land border shut, would that be enough? Or does Israel have an obligation to allow goods accoss back and forth from Israel itself?
They would rather have as little to do with Gaza as possible.

Question, how exactly has Hamas helped this situation develop?

When Hamas collect millions from Arab states, what do they spend it on?

Ben White,

“Comparing the statistics for ‘before’ and ‘after’ puts into perspective the frequent, ludicrous boasts by the IDF about how many goods are ‘allowed’ into the territory.”

Since when is 49,288 truck visits ‘ludicrous’? Why didn’t you say It is 40% of the number of visits in 2005 the highest year in your chart? So much for the supposed Israeli ‘blockade’ of Gaza if it allows allows 40% of the traffic into Gaza.

“Thus the Israeli military’s spokesperson either can not address the point at all, or, is suggesting that rocket fire is the reason for the export ban – in other words, an explicit admission of collective punishment.”

You say ‘collective punishment’ whereas the Israelis say ‘protection of their citizens’. Might you consider how much higher the number of rockets into Israel would be if Israel had pretended they weren’t happening and not restricted it’s border? A chart showing the number of rockets into Israel over the same period 2000 – 2011 would illustrate the flaw with your complaints. Could you please provide one?

Could you also provide a link to Hamas economic policy showing how they propose to develop the economy of Gaza?

@Juan

“You don’t have any obligation to open your borders to an enemy. I’m surprised that even one truck gets to Gaza from Israel. The border with Egypt should be Gaza’s door to the world.”

On that point, see this (and other stuff) by Gisha >>> “It is important to note that even if Rafah Crossing in Egypt is converted to allow commercial transport, which it currently is not, it would still fail to provide a solution for shipping goods from Gaza to Israel and the West Bank.” (http://www.gazagateway.org/2012/05/export-from-gaza-frequently-asked-questions/)

@damon >>> also see the quotation and source I just cited.

@Kojak

“You say ‘collective punishment’ whereas the Israelis say ‘protection of their citizens’. Might you consider how much higher the number of rockets into Israel would be if Israel had pretended they weren’t happening and not restricted it’s border?”

How does stopping Gaza-made furniture being sent for sale in the West Bank prevent rocket fire?

Although I agree with several points criticising this post and Sunny Hundal’s recent post about the appalling Guardian article – I am actually inclined to agree with the final point made by Ben White (about furniture exports/rockets). I’ll lurch back to predictability by noting that BDS moves apparently impact on exports from Gaza.

http://hurryupharry.org/2011/07/05/bds-versus-gazan-and-israeli-arab-farmers/

@Sarah AB

“I am actually inclined to agree with the final point made by Ben White (about furniture exports/rockets).”

As that was the bit of your comment relevant to this post, I’ll focus on that. Glad you agree. And what’s key here of course, is that this is not some ‘overzealous’ security measure, or, ‘bureaucratic oversight’ – but a deliberate plan of “separation” (Gaza from West Bank) and collective punishment.

@Sarah AB

“I am actually inclined to agree with the final point made by Ben White (about furniture exports/rockets).”

As that was the bit of your comment relevant to the post, I’ll focus on that. I’m glad you agree. What is key, of course, is that this is not some ‘overzealous’ security measure, or bureaucratic ‘oversight’, but a deliberate state policy of “separation” (Gaza from West Bank) and collective punishment.

Ben, the West Bank and Gaza are now functioning as separate entities. They even have different unelected governments (both mandates have expired). You cannot accuse Israel of not wanting to know anything with an enemy entity if even Palestinians cannot agree to have some unity and functioning institutions.

There are two possible solutions to this conflict right now.

a) Palestinians renounce to their state rights and ask for full citizenship rights in the state of the Holy Land. I doubt that will ever happen

b) the two entities remain separated in a cold enmity without “hot” aggression against each other (like Israel and Syria to an extent).

The road more travel… mutual recognition, will keep the status quo for ever.

b) is more doable and the more disengaged Israel and the Palestinians are, the better (and by this I mean Israel withdrawing from the West Bank and sealing its border too). Then everybody can get on with their lives as if the other didn’t exist…. or do you interact with all your neighbours?

I don’t see why Israel should feel obliged to take produce from Gaza. It’s kind of tough about the way that the geography works against Gaza, but that’s the way it just is.
Maybe they should be encouraged to trade more through Egypt.

Trucks even just transiting through Israel to the West Bank is a huge logistical problem I would guess. Each one and it’s driver would need to be security screend.
The two parts of Palestine are seperate at the moment and will be for a long time into the future. There’s no chance for The Arc project – which would link the West Bank and Gaza by rail line, getting agreed to anytime soon.

It’s just kind of tough for Gaza’s economy, but they don’t really have many viable markets. Not until this whole thing is sorted out for good.

16. whitevanmanlondon

Unless they have changed it the Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel and Gaza is used for launching missiles into Israel. The one state solution is basically a call for the wiping of Israel from the map as there can be no other result.

Mr White is also a close friend of Holocaust deniers and in should not be taken as in any way as unbiased. He has been taken apart by many commentators but it is no surprise that he pops up here.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. occupiedpalestine

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/djdIpYPR ft @AvitalLeibovich & @IDFSpokesperson #Gaza #IDF #Israel

  2. Helena Kasp

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/djdIpYPR ft @AvitalLeibovich & @IDFSpokesperson #Gaza #IDF #Israel

  3. Palestine Today

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy via @benabyad http://t.co/DZTBhBWc

  4. Jason Brickley

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/LfZMt6kQ

  5. ?????? ??? ???

    Note @AvitalLeibovich's revealing tweet http://t.co/Uk8vToen How Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy by @benwhite

  6. Karim ??? ??????

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/djdIpYPR ft @AvitalLeibovich & @IDFSpokesperson #Gaza #IDF #Israel

  7. ralph brown

    Chart: how Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/XWqJd92p

  8. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/tl9GBSVC

  9. Ahmad Mourad

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/djdIpYPR ft @AvitalLeibovich & @IDFSpokesperson #Gaza #IDF #Israel

  10. Saina Behnejad

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy via @benabyad http://t.co/DZTBhBWc

  11. Dave Boyle

    Chart: how Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/XWqJd92p

  12. G.B. Zidan

    my new blog post >>> RT @libcon Chart: how Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/gilMNZit

  13. Kevin

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/djdIpYPR ft @AvitalLeibovich & @IDFSpokesperson #Gaza #IDF #Israel

  14. Libor Von Schönau

    Chart: how #Israel’s blockade of #Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/DxW0egsP #IDF #occupation

  15. Hazem Sharaf

    Note @AvitalLeibovich's revealing tweet http://t.co/Uk8vToen How Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy by @benwhite

  16. Ben White

    Note @AvitalLeibovich's revealing tweet http://t.co/Uk8vToen How Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy by @benwhite

  17. Waqaas

    Note @AvitalLeibovich's revealing tweet http://t.co/Uk8vToen How Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy by @benwhite

  18. Martin Brown

    Chart: how Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/XWqJd92p

  19. Nasser H Al-Khalifa

    Note @AvitalLeibovich's revealing tweet http://t.co/Uk8vToen How Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy by @benwhite

  20. Laid Back Farmer

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/djdIpYPR ft @AvitalLeibovich & @IDFSpokesperson #Gaza #IDF #Israel

  21. Laid Back Farmer

    my new blog post >>> RT @libcon Chart: how Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/gilMNZit

  22. Littlebird

    my new blog post >>> RT @libcon Chart: how Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/gilMNZit

  23. Rayan

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/djdIpYPR ft @AvitalLeibovich & @IDFSpokesperson #Gaza #IDF #Israel

  24. sunny hundal

    In charts: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza over the past five years has gutted its economy http://t.co/6PrGZ41e

  25. Shane

    In charts: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza over the past five years has gutted its economy http://t.co/6PrGZ41e

  26. smileandsubvert

    In charts: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza over the past five years has gutted its economy http://t.co/6PrGZ41e

  27. Arun Mehta

    Ben White: "How Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy." http://t.co/odxvCGWP via @libcon

  28. Dominic Phoenix

    In charts: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza over the past five years has gutted its economy http://t.co/6PrGZ41e

  29. Pucci D

    RT @libcon: Chart: how Israel's blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/DseWsMLh #BDS #fb

  30. elliot herman

    How Israeli blockade has killed Gaza's economy http://t.co/npStwRum Not much of a surprise, but still…

  31. Warren Niblock

    In charts: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza over the past five years has gutted its economy http://t.co/6PrGZ41e

  32. Hamed Khan

    In charts: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza over the past five years has gutted its economy http://t.co/6PrGZ41e

  33. fabsternation

    In charts: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza over the past five years has gutted its economy http://t.co/6PrGZ41e

  34. PALESTINE NEWS | June 12, 2012 | Occupied Palestine | ??????

    […] Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/06/12/chart-how-israels-blockade-of-gaza-has-gutted-its-economy/ […]

  35. Matt Duss

    RT @Ibishblog RT @RabbiSuskin: Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/DcYvsWA3

  36. Robert J. Pechacek

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/YONZEmGA

  37. Rozina Ali

    RT @Ibishblog RT @RabbiSuskin: Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/DcYvsWA3

  38. E Sadeghi-Boroujerdi

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/YONZEmGA

  39. Martin Butcher

    RT @Ibishblog RT @RabbiSuskin: Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/DcYvsWA3

  40. Ayman Qwaider

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/90FGyOoy

  41. Ayman Qwaider

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy http://t.co/90FGyOoy #EndGazaBlockade

  42. Ben White

    stuff by me this week >>> Palestine & Oslo http://t.co/Si4tTmp2 Gaza exports http://t.co/h69WkD1R Upper Nazareth racism http://t.co/TfZxvnrG

  43. BADIL Center

    stuff by me this week >>> Palestine & Oslo http://t.co/Si4tTmp2 Gaza exports http://t.co/h69WkD1R Upper Nazareth racism http://t.co/TfZxvnrG

  44. ???

    stuff by me this week >>> Palestine & Oslo http://t.co/Si4tTmp2 Gaza exports http://t.co/h69WkD1R Upper Nazareth racism http://t.co/TfZxvnrG

  45. Lance Dyer

    Chart: how Israel’s blockade of Gaza has gutted its economy | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/KP7iBJ2u via @libcon

  46. holly weaver

    stuff by me this week >>> Palestine & Oslo http://t.co/Si4tTmp2 Gaza exports http://t.co/h69WkD1R Upper Nazareth racism http://t.co/TfZxvnrG

  47. Jinjirrie

    Ben White @benabyad graphs the impact of Israel's collective punishment of the imprisoned population of Gaza. http://t.co/jgqln9zB

  48. Ben White

    Ben White @benabyad graphs the impact of Israel's collective punishment of the imprisoned population of Gaza. http://t.co/jgqln9zB

  49. ??????? ??? ?????

    Ben White @benabyad graphs the impact of Israel's collective punishment of the imprisoned population of Gaza. http://t.co/jgqln9zB

  50. Kebz

    Ben White @benabyad graphs the impact of Israel's collective punishment of the imprisoned population of Gaza. http://t.co/jgqln9zB

  51. Sofia Smith ???

    Ben White @benabyad graphs the impact of Israel's collective punishment of the imprisoned population of Gaza. http://t.co/jgqln9zB

  52. KevinBushnell

    Ben White @benabyad graphs the impact of Israel's collective punishment of the imprisoned population of Gaza. http://t.co/jgqln9zB

  53. Sarah Rowe

    Ben White @benabyad graphs the impact of Israel's collective punishment of the imprisoned population of Gaza. http://t.co/jgqln9zB

  54. iResist?iAm

    Collective Punishment: #Israel allows <1% of agreed #Gaza exports & bans all exports to Israel, WestBank & Jordan | http://t.co/5i7GpsXx

  55. SADAKA Ireland

    Snapshot graphs showing how Israel’s punishment of the Gaza Strip has impacted its economy… http://t.co/SiWGRSjf

  56. SADAKA Ireland

    **** PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS! ****

    Snapshot graphs showing how Israel’s punishment of the Gaza Strip has… http://t.co/w1g2qP4K

  57. A Lonergan

    **** PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS! ****

    Snapshot graphs showing how Israel’s punishment of the Gaza Strip has… http://t.co/w1g2qP4K

  58. Ben White

    & exports? http://t.co/h69WkD1R >>> MT @IsraelinUK Yday, the #IDF facilitated transfer to #Gaza of 237 trucks w/ 6,081 tons of goods & gas

  59. Ted Graham

    & exports? http://t.co/h69WkD1R >>> MT @IsraelinUK Yday, the #IDF facilitated transfer to #Gaza of 237 trucks w/ 6,081 tons of goods & gas

  60. msofia7

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  61. Abdulkhaleq

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  62. Catherina_News2

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  63. ???????? ?????

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  64. Misti Jackson

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  65. Haliemeh Sweidan

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  66. #Gaza2012Movement

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  67. gnarles

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  68. James S. Henry

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  69. Chris Flaherty

    Remember. #Israel has deliberately gutted #Gaza's economy for *years*. Collective punishment. See my June @libcon post http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  70. Ben White

    @robertwrighter you might find these helpful re Gaza & blockade http://t.co/mASgqugU & http://t.co/djdIpYPR

  71. Roger Kirchwood

    @shribr No, I know it because facts don't lie http://t.co/7grjqRTN

  72. E/A: Middle East

    A great article to explaining #Gaza's post disengagement and post blockade economy by @benabyad http://t.co/7r0GCWnL via @libcon





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.