Following Hamas’ takeover of internal control in Gaza in June 2007, the Palestinian Authority’s influence over Gaza has significantly diminished, and most of the routine administration of the government and public services, such as the education system, policing, sanitation and hospitals, is carried out by the Hamas regime. However, the Palestinian Authority still maintains significant responsibilities, particularly the financing of major public services such as the healthcare system and the supply of electricity. The Palestinian Authority continues to coordinate the passage of people and goods with Israel, and taxes levied on goods transported from Israel through the crossings are collected by Israel on behalf of the PA. Additionally, Palestinian Authority officials remain responsible for transferring applications for changes in the population registry to Israeli authorities, including for the purpose of issuing passports.
For this reason, Israel’s control over the Palestinian Authority, which operates both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, influences the latter’s ability to make independent decisions related to Palestinian residents, govern them and fund public services1.
In addition, Israel’s control over travel between the West Bank and Gaza Strip affects the operation of civil institutions and systems throughout the Palestinian territory. These systems and institutions have developed as part of a single apparatus serving residents in both parts of the Palestinian territory2. For example, a Palestinian democracy and human rights academic program is offered by Birzeit University in the West Bank. Israeli control over movement between Gaza and the West Bank and its prohibition on travel from Gaza to the West Bank for the purpose of studying impact Gaza residents’ access to this program and to higher education in general3. In addition, control over the ability of Palestinian professionals from the West Bank to work in Gaza impacts the quality of services available in Gaza4. It should be noted that control over movement between Gaza and the West Bank is not merely a result of the fact that Israel is situated between the two parts of the Palestinian territory, but also of its exclusive control over all crossings to and from the West Bank, including the Allenby Bridge, on the West Bank’s Jordanian border. Israel prohibits residents of Gaza from entering the West Bank irrespective of passage through Israel: a Gaza resident who exits to Egypt and seeks to enter the West Bank from Jordan will be thwarted by Israel’s policy of disallowing use of the Allenby Bridge by Palestinian residents whose registered address is in the Gaza Strip5. Though a distinction should be made between Israel’s control over one part of the Palestinian territory and the other (and the legal ramifications of this distinction should be taken into account), Israel’s control over travel between the two areas impacts civilian institutions and the lives of residents throughout the Palestinian territory.
- For details see, GISHA, DISENGAGED OCCUPIERS, supra note 1, pp. 56-58. [↩]
- See, Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Washington DC, September 28, 1995, Article XI (hereinafter: Oslo B), and GISHA, DISENGAGED OCCUPIERS, supra note 1, p. 58. [↩]
- See, Press Release, Gisha, Israel Announces: No Easing for Travel of People Into and Out of Gaza (July 8, 2010). [↩]
- For example, the refusal to allow an educator from the West Bank to provide professional training for teachers designed to encourage parents to read to their children affects the quality of educational services in the Gaza Strip. See Press Release, Gisha, Following Gisha’s petition to the High Court: Parents in Gaza to benefit from workshop encouraging reading to children (Nov. 28, 2010). [↩]
- Gisha, Legal Framework: Merchants and the Economy – Rights and Obligations under International and Israeli Law (May 2010) (hereinafter: Gisha, Merchants and the Economy). [↩]