Say it Ain’t So Bibi: The Gaza Blockade and Confessions of a Prime Minister

guest post by Shaul Magid

Many of us have been struggling to understand the ways in which the blockade of Gaza and the Flotilla disaster have benefited Israel. The answer of the Israeli government has always been that the blockade is necessary for security and that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza (needless to say UN relief representatives on the ground in Gaza have a different take on this). In an article today in Haaretz, “Blair Hails Deal with Netanyahu to Ease Gaza Blockade,” we read the following:

At their first meeting [between the British and Israeli teams], the envoy handed Netanyahu a document prepared by Blair’s staff that included suggestions for easing the blockade. The prime minister told Blair that he never thought the blockade as constituted was particularly wise, as he understood that the civilian population, and not Hamas, bore the primary brunt.

Wait a minute. Bibi said he “never thought the blockade as constituted was particularly wise,” and he “understood that the civilian population, and not Hamas, bore the primary brunt”? This contradicts Israel’s entire justification of the blockade and confirms what critics have been saying for years. The Israeli response has always been just the opposite! Now after the Flotilla disaster, after worldwide condemnation, after the deaths of nine civilians, after all this Bibi basically says what his critics have been saying all along?! Truly amazing. If this is so, Bibi, why have you let a poorly constituted blockade continue for three years when you knew it was the Gazan population and not Hamas that was suffering. And why have you consistently denied this was the case. In Israel there is a saying when one is not sure about the intentions of another’s incompetence, “is he a klutz or a putz?” You decide.

6 Responses to “Say it Ain’t So Bibi: The Gaza Blockade and Confessions of a Prime Minister”

  1. Umm… Bibi wasn’t Prime Minister 3 years ago! Do you forget who was in charge of Israel when all these policies which you seem to love began? Olmert, Livni, Barak, Israel’s political center and left. Bibi has been in opposition since just before the Gaza withdrawal. Wow, just wow.


    Anonymouse · June 16th, 2010 at 1:00 pm
  2. Point well-taken but Bibi supported the blockade even in opposition! The point stands.


    Nahman Umani · June 16th, 2010 at 4:18 pm
  3. Did he? Or did he support finishing the war so that no blockade would be necessary?


    Anonymouse · June 16th, 2010 at 5:54 pm
  4. He may have supported finishing the war (i.e. re-occupying Gaza) but once the decision to end the war was made he supported, and continues to support, the blockade.


    Nahman Umani · June 16th, 2010 at 8:31 pm
  5. finishing the war (i.e. re-occupying Gaza)

    Is that what you think “finishing the war” means? I would have thought eliminating Hamas’s ability to wage war, capturing or killing its leadership and reinstalling the PA in charge of Gaza was “finishing the war”.

    I think everyone supports a blockade on weapons and weapons components into Gaza – except Hamas and their supporters, of course. The only disagreement is in the implementation of that blockade. That Bibi is modifying the blockade to bridge differences with the international community, and reinstate the solidarity against Hamas, is ultimately good for everyone – except Hamas and their supporters, of course.

    The legitimacy of this blockade is being strengthened, not eased.


    Anonymouse · June 16th, 2010 at 8:47 pm
  6. Why is this news?
    Bibi changing his mind?
    He follows the famous remark of Groucho Marx: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”


    Meir Eynaim · June 17th, 2010 at 4:20 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik