Monday, April 12, 2010

News from the "world's largest prison"

Israel's critics love to call Gaza the "world's largest prison." (Some prefer "world's largest concentration camp" or the "world's largest prison camp.")

Here are some 2009 statistics from this "prison" from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a report on the Palestinian Arab economy:

- In 2009, 738,576 tons (30,576 trucks) of humanitarian commodities were transferred to the Gaza Strip. In January and February 2010, 92,138.1 tons (4,056 trucks) were transferred.

- In 2009, 22,849 Palestinians exited the Strip, among them 10,544 patients and their companions, exiting for medical treatment in Israel.

- In 2009, 21,200 international organization staff members entered the Gaza Strip.

- In 2009, 4,883 tons of medical equipment and medicine entered the Strip, in 572 trucks.

- In the first two months of 2010, 659.1 tons of medical equipment and medications entered the Gaza Strip, in 92 truckloads.

- In 2009, Israel continued to supply electricity to the Gaza Strip. In addition, 41 truckloads of equipment for the maintenance of the electricity networks were transferred.

- Between April and October 2009, maintenance work was conducted on the power station by Siemens. In 2009, over 105,701,740 liters of diesel were delivered to the station.

- In 2009, 45 truckloads of equipment for communication systems entered the Strip, based on PA requests. In January and February 2010, 25 trucks entered the Strip, carrying inter alia 200,000 SIM cards for the Jawwal Cellular Network.

- 77% of the truckloads entering the Gaza Strip in 2009 were coordinated by the private sector.

- In 2009, 257 Palestinian businessmen (holders of BMC cards) exited the Gaza Strip for Israel, the West Bank and destinations abroad. In January and February 2010, this figure amounted to 148.

- In 2009, over 1.1 billion NIS were transferred to the Gaza Strip to cover the salaries and activities of international organizations, in addition to the PA civil service payroll in Gaza.

- 9,782,076 flowers and 54 tons of strawberries have been exported from Gaza (as of the end of February 2010).

- 374 Christians exited the Strip to celebrate Christmas in Israel and Bethlehem. In addition, 100 Christians exited to participate in the papal visit in May 2009.

- 3,607 tons of glass (103 truckloads) were transferred to the Strip. This project is expected to continue in 2010, and approval has been given for the transfer of wood and aluminum to repair windows and doors.

- In 2009, 10,871 cattle entered the Gaza Strip, mainly for Ramadan and Eid al- Edha celebrations.
The MFA laconically adds, "Meanwhile, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit remains in captivity for almost four years."