35. Sea port
Gaza City, Gaza Strip
Giclée print on Hahnemühle photo rag paper
21 x 30 cm
3/5 editions (+ AP)
In a diplomatic cable from November 3, 2008, revealed by Wikileaks, members of the Israeli government told US diplomatic staff of their economic throttling of the Gaza Strip. The cable states that Israel wants the Gazan economy to be “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis”. (1) Another cable states that “as part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge”. (2)
A ship's propellor stands as a monument by the sea wall in the port district of Gaza City. I was told it was the propellor off one of Yasser Arafat's boats. Today it stands as a symbol to the stagnant political and economic situation as well as the restriction of movement in Gaza and Palestine. Today, ships (mostly fishing boats) from the Gaza Strip at not allowed to travel more than 5.6km offshore. Even within this distance, it is not uncommon for Gazan fisherman to detained or have their vessels fired upon by the Israeli navy
In 2007, after Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip, Israel initialled the economic blockade of Gaza and set about restricting border and trace access citing security concerns and to weaken the position of the Hamas government. Egypt also followed suit fearing the Iranian influence on Hamas so close to their border. The blockade has been strengthened and weakened sporadically over the years but the overall trend is stricter restrictions and increasingly desperate economic hardship for the Gazan people. The Israeli state states the political and military behaviour of Hamas is to blame for the blockade and suffering in Gaza.