Items considered contraband entering the Gaza Strip (Partial list):

  • sage
  • cardamom
  • coriander
  • ginger
  • jam
  • halva
  • vinegar
  • nutmeg
  • chocolate
  • fruit preserves
  • seeds and nuts
  • biscuits and sweets
  • potato chips
  • gas for soft drinks
  • dried fruit
  • fresh meats
  • plaster
  • tar
  • wood
  • cement
  • iron
  • glucose
  • industrial salt
  • plastic/glass/metal containers
  • industrial margarine
  • tarpaulin sheets
  • fabric (for clothing)
  • flavor and smell enhancers
  • fishing rods
  • fishing nets
  • buoys
  • ropes
  • nylon netting for greenhouses
  • hatcheries and spare parts for hatcheries
  • spare parts for tractors
  • dairies for cowsheds
  • irrigation pipe systems
  • planters (for saplings)
  • heaters
  • musical instruments
  • size A4 paper (letter/legal size)
  • writing implements
  • notebooks
  • toys
  • razors
  • sewing machines
  • horses
  • donkeys
  • goats
  • cattle
  • chicks

Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to instruct the security authorities to implement a policy of free passage of civilian goods into and out of the Gaza Strip, subject only to individual security inspections.
Gisha wrote to the Prime Minister following his May 31, 2010 statement that Israel’s only objective in restricting the passage of goods is to prevent the entry of war material into the Gaza Strip. According to Netanyahu, “any goods, any humanitarian aid to Gaza, can enter. What we want to prevent is their ability to bring in war materiel.” Netanyahu spoke in response to the demand to investigate the incident in which nine people were reportedly killed when a flotilla trying to transfer goods into the Gaza Strip was intercepted by the Israeli navy.
Gisha welcomes the statement by the Prime Minister but points out that it does not reflect the policy of the security officials operating on the ground. As a matter of practice, Israel prevents the entry of hundreds of items into the Gaza Strip, including sage, vinegar, ginger and children’s toys. These restrictions constitute collective punishment under international humanitarian law, because they are designed to punish civilians in the Gaza Strip for acts they did not commit.
Despite a Freedom of Information Act petition submitted by Gisha to the Israeli district court, security officials refuse to reveal their procedures and the criteria that guide them in determining which goods are permitted and forbidden to be brought into the Gaza Strip. “If, as you say, any product can be brought into Gaza as long as it is not war materiel, then the parties operating on the ground are either unaware of the government policy or are not acting according to the policy,” writes the Director of Gisha’s Legal Department, Attorney Tamar Feldman.
Gisha calls on the political echelon to establish a transparent mechanism for the free passage of civilian goods into and out of the Gaza Strip, including raw materials, export products and building materials, subject only to individual security checks.
To see a partial list of permitted and forbidden products, click here.
For details on the Freedom of Information Act petition submitted by Gisha, click here.
To read a position paper about the ambiguity surrounding the passage of goods into the Gaza Strip, click here.