Table of contents
1. What is Israel’s “dual-use list”?
2. How do “dual-use” goods enter Gaza?
3. What are the obligations of Israel and other parties in relation to allowing goods into Gaza?
4. Which goods enter from Egypt and why don’t more enter?
5. What is the “regular dual-use” track via Israel?
6. What are the other, bilateral mechanisms or tracks between Israel and international organizations?
7. What is the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism and how does it work?
8. Is the GRM effective?
9. Is the GRM changing?
10. Are the dual-use restrictions necessary to protect Israel’s security?Conclusion
For years, Israel has restricted the entry of construction materials, raw materials, chemicals, equipment, and spare parts into Gaza that are needed for industry, the health sector, and civilian infrastructure. Israel considers thousands of items to be “dual-use,” that is, civilian goods that could also be used for a military purpose, even though these items are not defined as dual-use according to international standards. Israel subjects items it defines as dual-use to additional controls, claiming that they could be used by militant groups in the Strip, for example for building tunnels, fortifications, or for creating armaments.
From the time Israel tightened the closure on Gaza in 2007, and until the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident of 2010, Israel banned entry of countless goods to Gaza, including basic products such as coriander, paper, toys, and chocolate. In fact, other than a narrow list of items permitted for entry, which was never published, everything was banned. In 2012, following a lengthy legal campaign by Gisha, Israel’s Ministry of Defense finally revealed the documents entitled “Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip – Red Lines” which included information about the restrictions Israel placed on entry of food into Gaza between 2007 and 2010.
Though the “Red Lines” policy is no longer in place, Israel’s list of dual-use goods, the vague, broad categories it contains, the lack of transparency surrounding it, and the labyrinthine process for coordinating entry of items continue to impact countless aspects of everyday life in the Strip.
During the May 2021 military operation on Gaza, bombardments by the Israeli military caused widespread destruction and damage to homes, businesses, hospitals, schools, roads and other civilian infrastructure in the Strip, estimated at a value of 290 to 380 million USD. More than 60,000 housing units were damaged and more than 2,000 were severely damaged or totally destroyed. Alongside Israel’s repeated bombardments of Gaza, the restrictions it imposes on access to goodscompound the harm done to residents of the Strip.
Israel is currently allowing in basic construction materials (cement, steel rebar, and gravel) relatively freely via Kerem Shalom, the only commercial crossing between Israel and Gaza, after blocking their entry for three months following the May 2021 offensive. Construction materials have also been entering Gaza via Egypt since May. Egypt sent in heavy machinery and equipment, which is typically blocked from entering via Israel and Egypt, to clear rubble. Given the three-month block on entry of construction materials by Israel, questions about funding for construction, as well as ongoing restrictions enforced by Israel, rubble was cleared quickly but reconstruction has been slow to start.
Israel’s restrictions on the entry of dual-use goods to Gaza have stunted construction and reconstruction, as well as economic development, in violation of Gaza residents’ fundamental rights. In this report, we answer frequently asked questions on Israel’s dual-use policy and about the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (the GRM). In the conclusion, we list key findings of our research and note issues that must be addressed to facilitate greater access to so-called dual-use goods.