What the “IDF Spokesperson” doesn’t like tweeting about Gaza

The official “Israel Defense Forces Twitter” account (@IDFSpokesperson) frequently tweets the amount of goods entering Gaza from Israel on a given day. However, while the IDF Spokesperson is eager to share information about goods going in to Gaza, there is a remarkable reluctance to answer questions about how many goods are being exported out of Gaza.

An example. Following a tweet of mine, the IDF Spokesperson responded:

So according to the Israeli military, what enters Gaza is based on “demand”. I then asked about statistics for exports, prompting this reply.

Since everything the army does is presumably based on what the “security situation allows”, this doesn’t tell us much. But the next tweet of mine, requesting more detail, went unanswered.

Why, given that the IDF Spokesperson can tweet the number of goods allowed in to Gaza to the last truckload, is a straightforward question about exports so hard to answer?

A negligible trickle of exports

Exploring the IDF-tweeted link leads you to ‘Weekly Reports’ on Gaza prepared by Israel’s Ministry of Defense. Here, we find out that in the week April 22-28, a grand total of 4 truckloads of exports (flowers and tomatoes) left Gaza. The week before, it was 3 truckloads of flowers. In fact, in the period April 1-28 – almost a whole month – a population of 1.7 million people exported 20 truckloads of produce.

In March, Israel permitted exports from Gaza to the West Bank (13 truckloads) for the first time since June 2007 – almost 5 years. Prior to the Israel-imposed ban, Gaza exported an average of 86 truckloads a day, 85% of which went to the West Bank and Israel.

Read what the IDF Spokesperson won’t tell you about their “access policy” here. And remember – if there’s no answer to the question about exports, it’s probably because it looks a bit like this:

(via Gaza Gateway)


Ben White

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Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. His articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian‘s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, New Statesman, and many others. He is the author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ (2009, Pluto Press) and ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination & Democracy’ (2012, Pluto Press). Ben is a researcher/writer for the Journal of Palestine Studies.