Papers show Israel counted calories to limit food to Gaza during blockade
According to a draft document, Israelis calculated Gazans on average needed 2,279 calories a day to survive the blockade it had imposed to keep weapons from entering the Palestinian territory.
Los Angeles Times
JERUSALEM — Israel's military calculated the minimum number of calories per day that Gaza Strip residents would need to avoid malnutrition during its embargo of goods into the restive territory from 2007 to 2010, court documents released Wednesday show.
Military officials said the so-called "red-lines" document was only a draft and was never used in setting policy or determining how much food it would allow into the Hamas-ruled coastal strip.
According to the document, Gazans on average needed 2,279 calories a day to survive. After subtracting for locally produced food and other factors, the document then estimated how many truckloads of food would be required to prevent malnutrition.
The paper, which the military fought for more than three years to keep classified, was only intended to ensure Gaza did not fall into a humanitarian crisis, officials said.
But Israeli human-rights activists and Palestinian officials said Israel's practices during the embargo closely mirrored the document's recommendations, including how many truckloads of food were allowed in, how many calves Gazans would receive for slaughter and what types of food would be banned, such as chocolate and olive oil.
"In many cases, the policy reflected exactly what was in the document," said Sari Bashi, director of the Israeli group Gisha, which filed a lawsuit against the military to force the document's release, and whose group opposes the embargo.
Israel severely tightened the blockade and embargo around Gaza in 2007, after Hamas seized control in 2006 and then militants captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit the same year. Israeli officials said the embargo was intended to ensure weapons were not smuggled into Gaza.