Has Israel’s maritime blockade turned Gaza into a giant prison camp and does this constitute collective punishment which is illegal under international law?

  • The maritime blockade has not turned Gaza into a prison camp. Israel and Egypt allow the supply of humanitarian aid and other goods to the Palestinians in Gaza by land, and it is not necessary for the aid to arrive by sea.
  • The naval blockade is necessary because of past incidents of Palestinians from Gaza using fishing boats for smuggling weapons into Gaza and for launching attacks on Israel.
  • Both Egypt and the Palestinian Authority have expressed support for the maritime blockade.
  • The UN’s Palmer Report, published in 2011 after the flotilla incident, said that Israel’s naval blockade was a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea, and complied with international law.
  • The blockade is necessary to protect Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian civilians and is thus legal under the self-defence clause of the United Nations Charter.
  • Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza strip in 2005, its actions are not subject to the law of occupation so it is not legally obliged to lift the blockade.
  • The naval blockade does not constitute collective punishment since Gaza’s residents are not deprived of humanitarian aid or other legitimate goods as a result of the blockade.
  • The naval blockade does not prevent Gaza’s residents from being able to leave Gaza for medical, educational or other purposes
  • Hamas, the terrorist organisation which controls Gaza, itself acts against international law by using Palestinian civilians as human shields, launching rockets and mortars into Israel indiscriminately and it abuses the incoming humanitarian aid for political and military purposes.
  • Hamas frequently exploits hospital visits to attack Israeli civilian targets, by firing rockets and mortars toward border crossings where humanitarian aid was being transferred into the Gaza Strip, and uses ambulances as a cover for terrorism.
  • Hamas has blatantly breached the Geneva Conventions on multiple levels. Lifting the naval blockade would assist Hamas in perpetuating injustices against Gaza’s Palestinians.


Hamas in Gaza

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