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Israel releases "red line" document

Keren Shalom Crossing, Gaza-Israel border

After a three-and-a-half-year legal battle waged by Israeli human rights group Gisha, Israel's Ministry of Defense turned over a document entitled "Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip—Red Lines," detailing the policy of restricting the entrance of food to the Gaza Strip. Two versions of the document, in the format of PowerPoint presentations, were provided to Gisha over the Sukkot holiday, after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the state’s appeal against disclosing the document on Sept. 5. The documents, produced in January 2008, established the minimum caloric intake required for the survival of residents. They cited a daily average of 2,279 calories per person, which could be supplied by 4 pounds of food, or 2,575.5 tons of food for the Gaza Strip's entire 1.7 million population. The Israeli Defense Ministry, which fought to keep the Red Lines documents classified, had argued to the court that Israel had a right "to adopt a policy of 'economic warfare" against Gaza's Hamas leadership. (UPI, Oct. 18; Gisha, Oct. 17)

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