WikiLeaks – Israel Kept Gaza On Brink Of Economic Collapse uploaded from JERUSALEM — Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip was meant to push the area’s economy “to the brink of collapse,” according to a US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks on Wednesday, signaling that Israel was well aware that the policy was taking a heavy toll on the area’s civilian population. Israeli leaders have long maintained that the blockade was necessary to weaken the ruling Hamas militant group. The newly released document, published in Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper, indicates that Israel hoped to accomplish that goal by targeting Gaza’s 1.5 million people. According to the March 3, 2008, cable written by an American official, Israeli officials told American diplomats “on multiple occasions that they intend to keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev refused to comment. Israel imposed the blockade after Hamas militants routed forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and seized control of Gaza in June 2007. Its official policy was that it would never allow a humanitarian crisis to develop in Gaza. The blockade failed to oust Hamas, though it brought Gaza’s economy to a virtual standstill. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, exports have been largely halted, and for three years, Israel carefully monitored which types of consumer goods were allowed into the territory, while allowing all basic humanitarian goods