Sarsak arrives in Rafah after his release
Sarsak arrives in Rafah after his release Flash 90

The IDF has said that a mathematical formula was devised to set the food needs of Gazans in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis during the blockade that started in September 2007.

The Israeli pro-Hamas NGO Gisha denies this information.

"The official goal of the policy was to wage 'economic warfare' which would paralyse Gaza's economy and, according to the defence ministry, create pressure on the Hamas government," reads the Gisha report.

The blockade of the region, populated by 1.5 million people was meant to weaken the abilities of militants to commit acts of terror.

Israel says it permitted the average daily requirement of 2,279 calories per person, in line with World Health Organization guidelines.

"The official goal of the policy was to wage 'economic warfare' which would paralyze Gaza's economy and, according to the Defense Ministry, create pressure on the Hamas government," Gisha told the press on Wednesday.

The Defense Ministry handed over its document on the food calculation to Gisha only after the group filed a Freedom of Information petition.

Defense Ministry spokesman, Guy Inbar was quoted saying that the report, "Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip -- Red Lines," was not used as a guideline for the operation."The whole red lines document was a draft of which no use was ever made," he told AFP. "It was never implemented, we never used it... we never counted calories." He said, "It was a draft meant to help in some sort of process of calculation to identify and prevent humanitarian distress in the Gaza Strip," he said, explaining that nowadays the amount of food entering Gaza from Israel is determined by Gazans themselves." He continued, "Today everything goes into Gaza, with the exception of material that can be used for terror."

Israel allowed frozen salmon and low-fat yogurt into Gaza but not cilantro or instant coffee, permitting essentials and forbidding luxury items.

“While the embargo crippled Gaza's economy, at no point did observers identify a humanitarian crisis developing in the territory, whose residents rely heavily on international food aid.” reported a newswire.

Hamas officials were able to smuggle in food and weapons through a network of tunnels connected to Egypt.

Since 2010, consumer goods have been moving into Gaza from Israel usually through the Rafah crossing, however, construction materials are still largely banned from entering, with Israel arguing that Gaza militants “could use items such as pipes and concrete in attacks on southern Israeli communities.”

A naval blockade remains in effect, and the Jewish state also has put heavy restrictions on exports from the region.