Avid Editor's Insights

Israeli Foreign Ministry Legal Expert: Why Gaza is Blockaded

Posted by Glezele Vayne on May 27, 2010

BS”D

by Hillel Fendel of Arutz Sheva

Part 2 of a Two-Part Series. The first part of this series, a detailed account and list of aid Israel provides Gaza, can be seen here. Israel’s Foreign Ministry (MFA) has prepared a three-pronged “counter-attack” to the flotilla of anti-Israel “humanitarian” ships scheduled to arrive in Gaza later this week. Among the elements of the Israeli response is a detailed explanation of the blockade Israel has imposed on Hamas, as outlined below.

Sarah Weiss Maudi, the Foreign Ministry’s expert on maritime and humanitarian law, was interviewed by the FMA website about the justification for the blockade on Gaza. She explained that the reason why ships are not allowed into Gaza is Israel has imposed a maritime blockade on the coast of Gaza. Israel did this, Maudi said, “because Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime that controls Gaza.”

Hamas has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel proper, she said, “with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza by various routes, including the sea… Maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognized measure under international law, and may be implemented as part of an armed conflict at sea.”

She further said that “under international maritime law, when a maritime blockade is in effect, no vessels can enter the blockaded area. That includes both civilian vessels and enemy vessels. Any vessel that violates or attempts to violate the maritime blockade may be captured or even attacked.”

“Various naval manuals, including the naval manuals of the US and UK, recognize the maritime blockade as an effective naval measure that can be implemented in times of armed conflict,” Maudi continued. “And those manuals give various criteria for making a blockade valid, including the requirement to give due notice of the blockade. Israel, in accordance with the requirements of international law, has publicized the existence of the blockade currently in effect, and has published the exact coordinates of the blockade via the accepted international professional maritime channels.”

The interviewer then said, “Let’s talk about the transfer of supplies over land. Why can Israel decide what goes in and what can’t?”

Ms. Weiss Maudi responded, “In order to answer that question, we need to think about the events of the past few years. In 2005, Israel completed its disengagement plan and completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip, so that no Israeli military or civilian presence remained in the Gaza Strip. The disengagement plan ended Israel’s effective control of the Gaza Strip after almost 40 years of effective control… What currently exists is a state of armed conflict.”

She added that though Israel had hoped “that the disengagement would be used as a springboard for more positive relations with our neighbors in Gaza, in actuality, the opposite occurred. Instead of positive relations happening, the terrorist organization of Hamas seized power in Gaza and stepped up the rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli communities and towns in Israel proper adjacent to the Gaza Strip.”

Click here to continue reading the article….

From Glezele Vayne

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