Why the Gaza security blockade is legal

In accordance with international law, the maritime blockade does not affect the transfer of goods to civilians

Date: 11/05/2011, 1:23 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

The Israeli Defense Minister ordered a maritime naval closure on the Gaza Strip, 20 miles off the shore. The announcement of the closure was published in multiple foreign press outlets in addition to a message is sent out twice a day to any vessel located up to 300 kilometers off of Israeli shores. The message includes the geographical borders of the closure.

A maritime naval blockade is tool created by international law to prevent the entrance of vessels to enemy controlled ports and shores (In this case the Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations) as well as leaving them to open sea.

The Gaza maritime blockade has a clear security purpose- The Hamas terrorist organization is dangerous and acts to harm the State of Israel and its residents. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip are constantly arming up for this purpose and use the sea to transport weapons with which they plan to harm Israel through terrorist attacks against the IDF (Zahal) and the State of Israel.

An example of this is the Victoria arms-vessel caught by the Israeli navy carrying many weapons sent to the Gaza Strip. The purpose of the transfer is clear, and the ship’s capture prevent terrorist organizations from use these weapons to harm Israeli residents.

This case, as well as many others, proves that the maritime naval closure is crucial in defending the security of Israeli civilians. Since the day the closure was established, the country maintaining it was instructed to prevent the departure and entrance of any vessel from and into the enclosed area. This order includes significant security measures in cases where there is concern an enemy might use the sea to fortify its military for the purpose of attacking IDF (Zahal) forces and the State of Israel.

In accordance with international law, in order for the maritime closure to be binding, the country maintaining it must actively enforce it. Fulfilling these duties and taking into consideration the significant security measures the closure implies, the IDF (Zahal) effectively enforces the security maritime naval closure on Gaza since it was established and prevented any vessel from entering or leaving the enclosed area. The closure in enforced in a non-discriminatory manner to any vessel threatening to break it.

In accordance with international law, it is illegal to instate a maritime closure if its sole purpose is starving civilian populations or preventing transfer of means necessary for survival. The maritime closure on Gaza has a clear security purpose and thus is not in effect to jeopardize the survival of the civilian populations.

Furthermore, the maritime closure bares no effect on the transfer of humanitarian goods into the Gaza Strip. The necessary humanitarian aid is fully transferred through land crossings, and since 1967 no goods have been transferred to Gaza through the sea. As a result the establishment of the Gaza security maritime closure in January 2009 did not harm the supply of goods and products into the Gaza Strip in any way since it has not been used in over 40 years.

Since the unilateral departure from the Gaza Strip, the State of Israel has been constantly enabling the transfer of basic goods and products to civilian populations in Gaza.

During the past month, 4,946 trucks carrying 136,785 tons of goods were transferred into the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing arranged for by the IDF (Zahal) unit, COGAT. 1,728 trucks were carrying food products, 54 carrying clothing, 66 with electrical equipment, and 22 with sporting equipment, cars, washing machines and refrigerators. The transfer of cooking gas into Gaza continues, with a total of over 2,575 tons