But I thought they were only blocking weapons:
Bowing to worldwide pressure and condemnation, Israel on Sunday formally announced an eased blockade of Gaza that could significantly expand the flow of goods overland into the impoverished coastal Palestinian enclave, isolated by the Israelis for three years.
The announcement, made by the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, came three weeks after a deadly Israeli naval commando raid that thwarted a breach of the blockade by a flotilla of pro-Palestinian aid activists. That raid outraged much of the world and became a catalyst for a serious re-examination by Israel of its policy toward Gaza, which is governed by the militant anti-Israeli group Hamas and is home to 1.5 million Palestinians.
While Mr. Netanyahu did not signal an end to the naval blockade of Gaza or specify precisely what goods would be allowed, his action earned unusual praise from the Obama administration, which has been critical of Israel over the past year and has called the Gaza situation unsustainable.
If they were only trying to keep weapons out, how can they “significantly expand the flow of goods?” The failure of our media to point out the reality behind the Gaza blockade is just another notch in its tombstone.
our media will be fine…. because there’s nothing to replace it.
How can this be “explained”?? Simple – it’s the reflexive pro-Israel default position of the NYT and virtually every other mass-media outlet in the country (and a nontrivial segment of the blogosphere as well). IOW, take every single Israeli government pronouncement at (or more than) face value, and praise it as The Most Reasonablest Policy Evah! since even the slightest doubt or criticism will be shrieked up by The Lobby as little more than Holocaust-enabling or a pogrom. And thus necessitate even more atrocities – like an Alan Dershowitz Op-Ed flaying their “objective Jew-hatred” or whatever the catch-phrase of the day is.
This little squib encapsulates it all: PM Netanyahu says he is going to “ease the Gaza blockade” – but gives absolutely NO details about when or what they will actually “ease” – and gets “unusual praise from the Obama Administration” for basically just issuing a sound bite.
Business as usual…
I’m waiting for the list to dribble out. It will probably be cinnamon, nutmeg and dental floss.
This. There’s a media blockade of this country of any objective discussion about Israeli policy. This whole flotilla episode has really sharpened the focus on that fact, and it’s very clear that the media outlets have become Israeli propaganda tools. I don’t trust a word that’s reported about Israel if it’s in the NYT or the WaPo, so why read them?
The NYT is consistently and flagrantly pro-Israel and anti-China, consistently but less flagrantly anti-Obama. I did love and trust the Grey Lady lo these many years, but no more.
Notch in it’s tombstone… you kidder you.
Is this the announcement where the English versions said they’d ease the blockade, but the release for the ME audience said no such thing? I thought I saw something like that on Israel over the weekend.
There are a number of dual-use items which Israel has been blocking for a long time — for instance, cement. It is entirely possible that Israel could block those, and still only be blocking “weapons”.
For the safety of the state of Israel, though, they better not let Hamas get their hands on live chickens. You can just imagine the assaults on Israeli citizens that would result, indiscriminately launching chickens. And that would all be Obama’s fault.
The “why” would be a classic problem for a political scientist to try and tease out an answer to. Public opinion in the U.S. regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a glaring outlier. Collectively our attitude is closer to Israel than any other country on the planet by a long way, and it begs for an answer and when your answer is “Israel is a democracy, and it’s similar to the U.S.” that simply means either you are lying or the public is misinformed.
Walt and Mearsheimer probably put together the best shot anyone has at answering questions as complex and multifaceted as explanations for human behavior are and for their trouble they were soundbyted and caricatured as Hitler and David Duke. The *reaction* to the book is probably your best example of why our public opinion looks the way it does: Who wants that?
Yes, anything that prevents Israel from murdering Hamas’ leadership, or other Palestinians (by providing blast protection), on a whim is a “weapon”.
Also, too: If Obama hates/coddles/has no coherent policy towards Israel, how come Bibi is making this concession? And if it turns out to be the prelude to substantive peace talks, how will Obama be seen to have failed this time?
Pretty much. See here for an article on how Netanyahu is actually tightening the blockade.
We’re all anti-semites now, and this is awesome for John McCain. Where’s Dave when you need him to talk about all of our Juden Hass?
I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m just so fucking sick of this mess. Both sides at various points have been handed opportunities to move forward and bury the hatchet and some asshole on one side or the other always manages to screw it up. We should just stay out of it altogether. Stop giving Israel and Egypt money to be friends, abstain on any vote in the security council and tell the Arabs and Israelis that we no longer consider this our problem. Have a nice fucking day.
The activists who sought to bring attention to blockade had a good point, since the plain fact is that the media have been covering the blockade, but most Americans have been conveniently ignoring it because they really don’t give a damn about what happens anywhere unless it’s waved directly in front of their faces, preferably with reductive oversimplifications.
Of course, a many newspapers are cutting back on foreign news bureaus and international coverage, but in the era of the InterTubes, it is ridiculous for anyone to keep harping on the idea that if it ain’t been wrote about in an Amurrican newspaper, then the “media” ain’t covering it.
The BBC did a Gaza profile in January 2009 that dealt with the blockade and the resulting misery, complete with links to other stories and resources. The profile notes:
I won’t provide a link since I seem to go into moderation if I add more than one (do a google search on “economist an alternative to violence”), but a piece in the April 17, 2010 issue of The Economist provided a piece of reporting that suggest how insulting aspects of the blockade have been.
Finally delivering soiled clothing after holding onto it for three years?
But the article also includes some complexity in a world which insists on oversimplification, pointing out how Israel had actually been trying to co-operate with Hamas, which in turn had been trying to deal with recalcitrant militants insisting on launching attacks against Israel which were often more deadly to Palestinians. The article actually leads with a bit of sad, sick irony.
The blockade began in 2007. The story has been covered ever since. Don’t blame “the media” if you haven’t been keeping up.
tomvox1, that’s fucking retarded. Can we please for the love of all that is good stop with this 11-D chess bullshit. This blog and FDL deserve each other with your weird Obot matter-anti-matter reactions.
No, actually, having Israel shoot up an allies’ humanitarian flotilla wasn’t part of some diplomatic master plan…
You really have to admire the aid activists who put their lives on the line to draw attention to and horror at the collective punishment of Gazan citizens referred to as “the blockade”, 9 of whom paid with their lives being shot repeatedly in the heads and backs by Israeli commanders, as without their challenge and sacrifice, none of this serious promised (people should wait for empirically demonstrable reality) improvement in Gazan aid and trade would have taken place.
Yes, this should be the number one point for Americans: we have no strategic interest at stake here, and being involved by giving money is actually against our strategic interest.
Many don’t understand that the blockade wasn’t at all a list of weapons and things that could be made into weapons, but a very short list of things allowed. Big difference.
There’s a list from here on the BBC. Some of the choices:
Wood for doorposts and frames, but no wood for construction
Canned meat and tuna, but not canned fruit
Mineral water, but not fruit juice
Sesame paste (tahini) but not jam
Tea and coffee but not chocolate
Lentils and kidney beans, but no seeds or nuts that could conceivably be planted
Unfertilized eggs, but not fertilized ones; frozen meat and fish but no live animals (beginning to see the pattern here?)
Cinnamon but not coriander (traditional Palestinian foods make heavy use of coriander, so this is just a calculated insult).
It’s clear that this is no ‘terrorism containment blockade’ and rather a collective punishment one.
Learn to read, dude. I didn’t say anything about Obama’s Master Plan. Implied in what I said is that the Left trashed Obama for not condemning Israel after the humanitarian shoot ’em up and the Right trashed him for not vociferously supporting Israel’s unlimited right to defend itself from terrorist sympathizers from Turkey, both poor diplomatic choices. And now even though Obama did neither and ran the quiet center path, the fucking blockade is ending.
If you really think Bibi’s change of course is happening without any behind-the-scenes US pressure after the unplanned international incident, that really would be retarded, Bob.
@tomvox1: The blockade is not ending. Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza will continue.
All that exists now is a claim by the Israeli government that it will ease the land blockade. All items that enter Gaza will still be subject to Israel’s whim. It appears likely that Israel will continue to prevent the people of Gaza from trading or most other economic activity. Israel intends to deny building materials to Gaza’s civilians, thus preventing them from building or rebuilding their homes.
The proof of this pudding will be in the eating, but this looks like a public relations move on the part of Israel that will do little or nothing to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
You can just imagine the assaults on Israeli citizens that would result, indiscriminately launching chickens.
Not to make light of a majorly fucked up situation…
“I swear I thought turkeys could fly”
The “center path” is the Administration’s mealy-mouthed comments? LOL!
Except that it’s not. It’s not even clear that the list of allowed items is going to get longer.
In my experience reading about the blockade over the years, Israel never denied that they were blocking more than weapons and raw materials for weapons. Officials and commentators often acknowledged that they were blocking the flow of luxury and even food goods with the purpose of making life difficult for Palestinians (they stated they wanted it to be difficult, but not miserable or health/life threatening).
The blockade of these goods was in response to the election of Hamas. The purpose was to make Palestinians associate their choice of Hamas with the blockade so that they would eventually reject Hamas.
This, of course, didn’t work and in fact backfired. Many always believed it would backfire (count me in that camp). It was short sighted policy and resulted in Israel practically setting itself up for the flotilla and their obvious response to it (there was no way for them to respond any other way, having long ago created the blockade).
This is the horrid nature of this region (and conflicts everywhere over the centuries). Both Israel and Palestine continue to punish the populations of both nations for the decisions, policies and actions of the leaders. Both hope that the population will tire of the punishment and pressure their leaders to change policies or demand new leaders. This NEVER HAPPENS. Both sides dig in deeper and cling to the bad policies because they are the most tough and aggressive (and therefore feel like the right thing to do).
The result for many Americans, especially Jewish Americans, is difficulty supporting any one side – Israel of course has a right to defend itself, but not at the cost of Palestinian citizens. And Palestinian citizens are definitely being harmed, but Hamas IS a terrorist organization and they do bomb Israel regularly. How to choose a side when both sides are simultaneously right AND wrong?
And BTW, Israel was wrong in its calculation that the blockade would result in a rejection of Hamas. And yes, many saw that coming. But being wrong does not always equal being evil. The move to partially ease the blockade, though under international pressure, is an acknowledgment of being wrong. It would have been evil to continue bad policy after recognizing it as bad. But they didn’t do that.
Israel isn’t going to end the blockade entirely. And it shouldn’t. Hamas DOES want to import weapons and weapon making material. Israel shouldn’t allow that. But it should continue to be pressured to allow more and more economic and food trade. Punishing the Palestinian people will not weaken Hamas and will not create peace.
As I pointed out in a link in this very thread, the notion that Hamas bombs Israel regularly is an oversimplification of the facts. Despite all the reductionism of Israel vs the Palestinians, the Israeli government and Hamas were actually co-operating to try to clamp down on more militant organizations that were launching rockets against Israel. From the April 12, 2010 edition of The Economist:
However, I agree in part with another issue that you raise. In some ways, whether or not Hamas is a terrorist organization becomes secondary to whether it is the effective government of Gaza. Israel’s ability to dictate with whom they will negotiate is not totally up to them.
Agree 100% but this is movement from Bibi’s previous intransigence.
I don’t understand your underlying conceit: Are you saying that if Obama had blasted Israel with forceful public condemnations, he would have gotten better results than this movement on the embargo? If so…LOL.
I’m not sure (many of) you understand how diplomacy works but maybe you are just out of practice spotting it being effectively executed from watching the train wreck of the Bush years and expect that the same boobs are still calling the shots. They’re not.
More movement towards decent behavior from Israel will be coming because they are figuring this out. And if you think it is happening in a vacuum and with no US input, well, I guess I have to disagree with that.
This is even funnier when you recognize that Israel is the largest consumer of turkeys per capita in the world.