JERUSALEM -- Israel’s military calculated the minimum number of calories per day that Gaza Strip residents would need to avoid malnutrition during its embargo of goods into the restive territory from 2007 to 2010, court documents released Wednesday show.
Military officials said the so-called “red lines” document was only a draft and was never used in setting policy or determining how much food it would allow into the Hamas-ruled coastal strip. The paper, which the military fought for more than three years to keep classified, was only intended to ensure Gaza did not fall into a humanitarian crisis, officials said.
But Israeli human rights activists and Palestinian officials said Israel’s practices during the embargo closely mirrored the document’s recommendations, including how many truckloads of food were allowed in, how many calves Gazans would receive for slaughter and what types of food would be banned, such as chocolate and olive oil.
“In many cases the policy reflected exactly what was in the document,” said Sari Bashi, director of the Israeli group Gisha, which filed a lawsuit against the military to force the document’s release.
“The documents show that Israel used its control to put pressure on the Hamas regime by making civilians suffer,” said Bashi, whose group opposes the embargo.