Reading reports in American newspapers, one could quickly form the impression that the Jewish state’s selective blockade of the Gaza Strip has caused the sporadic rounds of rocket fire and other violent attacks on Jewish civilians over the past decade. The facts, writes David May, tell a different story:
From 2001 until 2005, when Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza, Palestinian militants fired thousands of rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers. The threat was clear, but when Israeli forces departed, there was no blockade. . . . In June 2007, Hamas violently ejected the Palestinian Authority’s forces from Gaza. . . . At this point, . . . Israel decided to restrict the entry of vessels into Gaza’s territorial waters, yet the blockade only began in January 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, the first major Hamas-Israel conflict.
After years of coping with Hamas’s persistent provocations, including ongoing rocket and mortar fire, Israel determined that it was too dangerous to allow the terrorist group to rule over Gaza with unrestricted access to the sea. Through its blockade and other preventive measures, Israel has prevented numerous attempts by Hamas and its allies to smuggle weapons and other illicit materials into Gaza. Notably, in March 2014, Israel intercepted the merchant ship Klos-C laden with dozens of advanced missiles with a range of up to 200 kilometers en route from Iran. . . .
While it imposes a blockade in Gaza, Israel facilitates the entry of tens of thousands of tons of goods into Gaza weekly. Israel also supplies Gaza with fuel and electricity.
Israel prevents thousands of smuggling attempts into Gaza annually. For instance, [the IDF’s] former chief of staff revealed that Israel had thwarted the illicit transfer of 15,000-20,000 rockets into Gaza. And in May and June 2019, Jerusalem announced that it had prevented two significant smuggling operations. . . . Blaming Israel’s defensive blockade for attacks on the Jewish state confuses cause and effect and ignores Hamas’s true aims.