Gaza Blockade | Just Vision Skip to main content

The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.

Gaza Blockade

Also known as the Gaza Siege. After Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel, with cooperation from Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA), initiated a heightened land, air and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, at times closing all border crossings. Israel has stated that its blockade is for security, restricting entry of goods that can also be employed for military use and thus lessening rocket attacks into southern Israel. Multiple documents and comments, however, have revealed other motivations for the blockade, including keeping Gaza near economic collapse, and using economic warfare against Hamas as a form of pressure. The Fatah-dominated PA has quietly supported the blockade as a way to weaken Hamas. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations, and multiple human rights organizations have referred to the blockade as a form of collective punishment on all Gazans, and a violation of international humanitarian law. The blockade has led to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with the United Nations reporting in May 2010 that 61% of Gazans are "food insecure" and 80% of Gazan households rely on some kind of food aid. The economy, education, medical care, agriculture and fishing industries have worsened, in some cases reaching near-collapse. There have been times when the blockade has eased, such as after cease-fire agreements ending hostilities in the Gaza Wars, and after the Gaza Flotilla incident (2010), but control over what gets in and out remains in Israeli hands, as does control over sea borders, airspace, and all but one land crossing. See "Farming without Land, Fishing without Water: Gaza Agriculture Sector Struggles to Survive," UNISPAL, May 2010; "The Punishment of Gaza," Gideon Levy, Verso, New York, 2010; and "Guide: Gaza under blockade," BBC, July 6, 2010. See also "Israel said would keep Gaza near collapse: WikiLeaks" Reuters, January 5, 2011; and "Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security," Sheera Frenkel, McClatchy DC, June 9, 2010. See also the infographic, " Besieged: The Economic Impact of the Israeli Siege on Gaza," Visualizing Palestine.