Sunday, March 8, 2009
"Despite declarations that it has "disengaged" from the Gaza Strip, Israel maintains control of the Strip's overland border crossings, territorial waters, and air space. This includes substantial, albeit indirect, control of the Rafah Crossing.
During the past 18 months, Israel tightened its closure of Gaza, almost completely restricting the passage of goods and people both to and from the Strip.
These policies punish innocent civilians with the goal of exerting pressure on the Hamas government, violating the rights of 1.5 million people who seek only to live ordinary lives - to be reunited with family, to pursue higher education, to receive quality medical treatment, and to earn a living.
The effects of the closure were particularly harsh during the military operation of Dec. 2008 - Jan. 2009. For three weeks, Gaza residents had nowhere to flee to escape the bombing."