Nathan Schmidt / Bethlehem
On 2nd January, Israeli forces stationed at the Erez border crossing with Gaza began enforcing the completion of a new survey as prerequisite to use of the crossing into Israel.
The 17-question survey probes the nearly 1000 Gazans who use the crossing daily with questions concerning the political, economic, and secruity situation in Gaza.
The questionnaire also probes the weatherability of the Hamas regime, namely who the individual thinks will be in charge of the embattled Mediterranean enclave in three years.
As reported by Al-Monitor, many concerns have been raised as to the purpose of the survey. Speaking with Al-Monitor, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza, Iyad al-Bazm called the survey a tool of the Israeli security force that ‘provides the Israeli intelligence with information about the security and political situation in Gaza, and this may help it lay out its anti-Gaza plans. We call on [Palestinian] citizens not to answer these questions and not to take them lightly.’
‘Israel prepared this survey due to the scarce information it has been receiving from Gaza following the severe security crackdown that the Interior Ministry started in April 2017,’ al-Bazm said.
Reported on by Israeli paper Hareetz in January, and later by Palestinian outlet The Gaza Post, the survey comes as Israel mounts its pressure on Hamas and expands on plans to diversify its means to end the decade-long conflict.
This week, Israeli officials announced a 1-Billion-dollar plan to engage the humanitarian and civil crisis in Gaza which would include work on ‘desalination, electricity and natural gas infrastructure projects’, as reported by Hareetz.
Coinciding with the renewed Israeli initiative, ahead of the Emergency Donor Meeting in Brussels on Wednesday the European Union pledged 43-million-Euros in support of economic and structural development in Palestine, including support to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to reunite with Gaza.
Image courtesy of Aliqtisadi.