The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App

WikiLeaks: Israel Intentionally Kept Gaza on Brink of Economic Collapse

A Palestinian youth carries a container with drinking water at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Sunday, June 20, 2010. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees marks June 20th as World Refugee Day. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
AP Photo
A Palestinian youth carries a container with drinking water at Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, in June, 2010, around the time Israel began to ease its blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory.
AP Photo

Most Western countries were unnerved by Hamas militants' takeover of Gaza in June, 2007, but none more so than Israel.

Israeli officials decided to respond by keeping "the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis," according to the latest diplomatic cable release from the Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

Three cables cited by the Aftenposten newspaper, showed that Israel kept the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv briefed on its internationally criticized blockade of the Gaza Strip, reports Reuters.

One cable, dated Nov. 3, 2008, states that "Israel has designated Gaza as a 'hostile entity,' and maintained an economic embargo against the territory. Under this designation, decisions on ... the territory's economy in general are treated ... as security matters."

After Hamas' takeover, Israel imposed a heavy embargo on Gaza intended to just barely avoid "pushing it over the edge."

Special Report: WikiLeaks

Since a deadly Israeli raid on a supply ship bound for Gaza in May, 2010, the Jewish state says it has significantly relaxed the blockade, with dozens of truckloads of goods entering the territory daily, Reuters reports. Aid organizations have said shipments should be increased further.

Palestinians say impoverished Gaza remains effectively a "prison" sealed off by Israel, and have called for an opening to allow normal trade and other links with the world, Reuters reports.

  • Joshua Norman

    Joshua Norman is a Senior Editor at