Port of Gaza
|Port of Gaza|
Gaza port, 1980
|Location||Gaza Governorate, Gaza Strip|
|Operated by||Palestinian National Authority|
|Land area||48,000 sqm|
|Piers||970m + 330m|
In antiquity, Gaza port was the principal port on the Mediterranean serving the Incense Road. Strabo and Ptolemy referred to it as Gazaion limen. The port was distinct from the city, which was located opposite it. Under Constantine the Great, the settled area around the port was granted city status and named Konstaneia. Under the emperor Julian, it was downgraded and the name was changed to Maioumas ("harbor place"). It became associated at this time with a pagan festival.
The Port of Gaza was at the end of the Nabataean spice road where trade was conducted in herbs, spices incense, drapery, glass and food. Goods arrived in the port on the backs of camels from Southern Arabia (the Kingdom of Sheba) through Petra, the Arava Valley and crossing Negev Desert via Avdat. At the port of Gaza, these goods were dispatched to the European markets.
In 2011, eight Roman columns believed to be the remains of a church were swept ashore during a storm. In 2013, the Palestinian naval police found ancient artifacts that included poles and baked clay.
Before World War I, Gaza was a busy port. In 2006, after the election of Hamas, Israel imposed a naval blockade. Restrictions were tightened in 2007 after Hamas took full control. Several attempts to break the Israeli blockade were made. Israel has prevented most ships from docking at the port of Gaza, but has allowed at least two boats, carrying activists and some supplies to reach the port.
In 2010, the port was deepened in preparation for the arrival of large international ships. A breakwater was constructed and lighting was installed. Hamas announced plans to develop the port to make it more accessible to fishermen and attract tourists.
Gaza Seaport plans
In 2005, Israel approved Palestinian plans to rebuild and complete the construction of a port a few miles south of Gaza City, which had begun before the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000 and was destroyed by Israeli forces together with Gaza's existing airport near Rafah, following the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Some academics have argued that a port which is under full Palestinian control is an essential step to achieving a lasting peace between Israel and a future Palestinian state.
On 2014-05-16, the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights released a working paper mentioning that thousands of Palestinian have been suffering from severe blockade and siege for seven years; which prevent them travelling or having their essential needs. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, said that the blockade is a violation of human rights and humanitarian law. The San Remo Manual on International Law applicable to armed conflicts at sea states that if the supplies essential for their survival are not reaching them, then the blockading party must provide them with these materials, subject to;
(a) The right to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted; and
(b) The condition that the distribution of such supplies shall be made under the local supervision of a Protecting Power or a humanitarian organization which offers guarantees of impartiality, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. Both civilians and members of armed forces have the right to get medical supplies, subject to (a).
The "United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict" in its Goldstone Report said that the blockading party is depriving the Palestinians from their freedom of movement, employment, housing, and even from water. However, both Egypt and Israel were demanded to open their crossings and ease their restrictions.
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- Israeli MFA
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- Gaza's archaeological treasures at risk from war and neglect
- Guardian Israeli navy blocks Gaza aid ship 1 December 2008
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- Jpost Navy lets another boat into Gaza port By Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon 9 December 2008
- Gaza port readies for flotilla, Jerusalem Post
- Telegraph 17 February 2005 Palestinians to rebuild Gaza sea port in latest peace move
- Economic viability of Gaza Port