Israel releases ‘red line’ document

After a three-and-a-half-year legal battle waged by Israeli human rights group Gisha, Israel’s Ministry of Defense turned over a document entitled “Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip—Red Lines,” detailing the policy of restricting the entrance of food to the Gaza Strip. Two versions of the document, in the format of PowerPoint presentations, were provided to Gisha over the Sukkot holiday, after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the state’s appeal against disclosing the document on Sept. 5. The documents, produced in January 2008, established the minimum caloric intake required for the survival of residents. They cited a daily average of 2,279 calories per person, which could be supplied by 4 pounds of food, or 2,575.5 tons of food for the Gaza Strip’s entire 1.7 million population. The Israeli Defense Ministry, which fought to keep the Red Lines documents classified, had argued to the court that Israel had a right “to adopt a policy of economic warfare” against Gaza’s Hamas leadership. (UPI, Oct. 18; Gisha, Oct. 17)

  1. Gaza blockade didn’t end in 2010
    Many reports on the “red line” document feature such verbiage as this, from the AP:

    The Israeli military calculated the number of calories that Gaza’s residents would need to consume to avoid malnutrition during a sweeping blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory from 2007 to mid-2010, according to a document that the Defense Ministry released under a court order and that was made public on Wednesday.

    This is patently dishonest (or misinformed) reportage: the Gaza blockade did not end in 2010, but was merely “eased.” This distortion caused Amnesty International to Tweet:

    Wrong!  and  say  blockade of  ended “mid-2010.” 1.6 million still suffer under blockade today

    It would be nice to provide more information than what will fit into 140 characters. Many of the Twitter responses were just even more content-free accusations of “anti-Semitism” against AI…


  2. Fire traded over Gaza border
    Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel on Oct. 24, the heaviest bombardment on the area in months, Three Thai laborers working on an Israeli farm were wounded, two seriously, when a rocket hit a chicken coop. Other rockets damaged five houses and broke car windows. Schools in the area were closed. Israel responded with a series of air-strikes on presumed rocket launching sites in Gaza, killing four Palestinians, two of whom were confirmed as militants. (AP, Oct. 24)

    Israeli troops on Oct. 20 commandeered a Gaza-bound ship that tried to break through Israel’s blockade. European lawmakers and activists aboard did not resist, and the Finnish-flagged vessel was diverted to an Israeli port. (AP, Oct. 20)