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.