Today’s Haaretz published this editorial…

Formulas for siege

The use of mathematical euqations to calculate basic humanitarian needs cannot help but raise parallels with the most monstrous uses of science.

For three years, officers from COGAT, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, have used mathematical formulas to monitor food and other basic necessities imported into the Gaza Strip. The formula Z/C=D, for example, was used to measure the “breathing space” Gaza residents had before stocks of a given product were depleted. [...]

The documents that were disclosed displayed the inhumanity of Israel’s closure policy in all its glory. But the blockade had long since proven itself to be not only an immoral instrument of policy, but also an ineffective one. None of its declared aims has been achieved: not the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and not the weakening of Hamas, which has only reinforced its rule under the closure. [...]

But the use of mathematical formulas to calculate basic humanitarian needs cannot help but raise parallels with the most monstrous uses of science. Blood-curdling calculations were made over the suffering of a civilian population numbering 1.5 million individuals. This inhumanity was also expressed in the cynical wording of the documents. [...]

The use of these documents, whose disclosure was essential to understand the thinking of those responsible for the blockade, has ceased. But we must remember that even if the siege has been eased, it continues to exist. Almost no one can enter Gaza or leave it, and the same is true of merchandise for export, which is of critical importance to the territory’s economy.

Haaretz’s Amira Hass in tandem with Gisha forced the COGAT to release these documents… (PDF! 22pgs)

Definitions:

a. Long shelf life – products that can be stored and used for a long time such as rice, sugar, flour, baby food.

b. Short shelf life – products that can be stored for relatively short periods of time, after which they expire, such as fresh milk and meat products.

c. Warning line – inventory days beyond which the relevant official must attend to the deviation from reasonable norms and assess the adequacy of the model.

d. Shortage - number of inventory days beneath which there is a danger of a shortage of a basic product, to the point of complete absence as part of the statistical deviation of the model and the difficulties of geographical distribution in the Gaza Strip.

Appendix B

Calculation of product inventory (except for animal feed, meat
and fuel)

b. The inventory of products will be calculated by weight (if for some reason it is not possible to obtain a breakdown by weight of the trucks, the weight will be calculated by the average weight of the relevant product per truck – Appendix G).

c. The daily consumption per capita per product as calculated by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics = A.

d. The population of the Gaza Strip = B.

e. Daily consumption = C. (A * B = C)

f. The daily quantity entering the Gaza Strip of the relevant product (70% of wheat goes to making flour and therefore in calculating the inventory of wheat calculate 70% of the amount of wheat entering the Gaza Strip) = X.

g. The existing reserves in the Gaza Strip (without the amount transferred that day) = Y.

h. The quantity of reserves in the Gaza Strip = Z. (X + Y – C = Z)

i. Breathing space (in days) = D. (Z /C= D)

As Amira Hass recently reported…

The formulas used coefficients and a formulation for “breathing space,” a term used by COGAT authorities to refer to the number of days remaining until a certain supply runs out in Gaza, to determine allowed quantities. [...]

A high-ranking COGAT officer told Haaretz that “Regulation, supervision and evaluation of supply of inventories in Gaza” is a method of quickly identifying a shortage of any basic item in Gaza, and that despite the mathematical equations contained in the document, he had never intentionally limited the amount of goods allowed to enter, but on the contrary, verified whether inventories of certain basic supplies in Gaza were full.

The COGAT spokesman said that the regulations were formulated “based on well-known basic foodstuffs, in consultation with the Israeli Health Ministry and in consideration of family consumption habits in Gaza, as published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2006.” [...]

These rules, the draft continued, were meant to allow in goods that would “supply the basic humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population.” It then listed seven considerations to weigh when determining which goods should be permitted.

Security was one. The others were as follows:

* “The necessity of the product for meeting humanitarian needs (including its implications for public health in both the Strip and Israel ).”

* “The product’s image (whether it is considered a luxury ).”

* “Legal obligations.”

* “The impact of the product’s use (whether it is used for preservation, reconstruction or development ), with an emphasis on the impact of its entry on the Hamas government’s status.”

* “The sensitivities of the international community.”

* “The existence of alternatives.”

These rules explain why, for example, imports of cloth and thread, which were considered “development” products, were barred, thereby destroying Gaza’s textile industry.

Ironically, it’s been widely touted that the siege had been ‘eased’ shortly after the Mavi Marmara tragedy, but, the duplicity of Bibi was evident even upon Bibi’s initial ‘announcement’…

Israel announces let-up to Gaza siege – but only in English

Prime Minister’s office issues two statements, one in English announcing plan to ease blockade, one in Hebrew omitting to mention the decision.

…Two official statements came out of the Prime Minister’s Office in regard to the security cabinet meeting – one in Hebrew for the Israeli media and another in English for the foreign media and foreign diplomats. The English version said that “It was agreed to liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza [and] expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision.” The Hebrew version addressed mainly remarks made by Netanyahu, but failed to mention any decision or agreement.

The Hebrew version also failed to mention whether the prime minister’s position was formally approved. “Israel will alter the system in order to allow more civilian goods into Gaza,” the Hebrew statement read.

Even Tzipi Livni, who was the Foreign Minister at the time the Gaza Siege was first imposed on Hamas, had recently testified at the Turkel Commission…

Gaza prohibitions were ‘too harsh,’ Livni tells Turkel

Livni said the Defense Ministry was responsible for banning numerous food products from entering Gaza, such as pasta, coriander, spices and even ketchup.

Many of the prohibitions Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip were overly harsh, opposition leader Tzipi Livni yesterday told the Turkel Committee probing Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May. [...]

“I thought [at the time] that drawing a distinction between different types of food, some of which would be allowed in and some of which not, was unnecessary,” Livni said. “I thought the ban on spaghetti excessive, but it was the defense minister and the coordinator of government activities in the territories who made the decisions.”

She was referring to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Coordinator of Government Activities Amos Gilad, who in the last months of Olmert’s government, insisted on a rigorous blockade. Their refusal to allow pasta into Gaza prompted a wave of international protest, and the United States demanded lifting the ban on all food items immediately.

That would be the Bush Administration demanding the lifting of the ban, at that juncture…

Why is it that we’re only hearing *crickets* from Obama and Abu Mazen on the lifting of the Siege during the current Peace Farce talks? Hmmm…?

Btw, the latest sleight of hand in the Peace Farce…

Report: U.S. proposes Israel lease lands from Palestinians under future deal

According to Asharq al-Awsat, U.S. offers in secret negotiations that Israel lease lands in E. Jerusalem from future Palestinian state for 40-99 years.

Israel is conducting secret negotiations with the U.S. on establishing the future borders of a Palestinian state, the London-based Arabic language daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Friday.

According to the report, Palestinian sources confirmed that the two sides discussed an option wherein Israel may lease lands in East Jerusalem from the Palestinians in exchange for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel would lease the territories from the Palestinian state for a period of 40 to 99 years.

The Palestinian sources said that the talks are an American initiative that has been going on for some time in order to obtain an understanding with Israel regarding the terms surrounding a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinian Authority apparently has only recently been made aware of the talks and hasn’t been given the details of the proposal.

An Egyptian source told the newspaper that the negotiations are “more quiet than secret, and are meant to try to save the peace process.”

Awesome…! Ensure that the ‘Bantustans’ exist for the next 40-99 years…!

*gah*