Who knew that the Israeli blockade is ‘economic warfare’?

Israel/Palestine
on 69 Comments

When the corporate media explain the logic behind Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, they turn to what Israel says officially and publicly. For example, today’s New York Times, in an article on an Israeli government–backed investigation into the deadly Israeli raid on a flotilla heading to Gaza, states:

Israel argues that the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from smuggling in weapons or materials needed to make them, and to weaken Hamas control.

This sounds similar to a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently justified the siege by saying that "Gaza is a terror state funded by the Iranians, and therefore we must try to prevent any weapons from being brought into Gaza by air, sea and land." (David Samel noted the propagation of the weapons rationale here the other day.)

But the Israelis must know that the blockade has not accomplished this, as materials for weapons are reportedly smuggled in to Gaza via underground tunnels that go from Egypt to Gaza.

So if the blockade isn’t working, why does it still exist? A June 9 article that appeared in McClatchy Newspapers puts the Israeli logic behind blockading Gaza this way:

In response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, the Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of economic warfare.

"A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using ‘economic warfare,’" the government said.

McClatchy obtained the government’s written statement from Gisha, the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which sued the government for information about the blockade. The Israeli high court upheld the suit, and the government delivered its statement earlier this year.

Sari Bashi, the director of Gisha, said the documents prove that Israel isn’t imposing its blockade for its stated reasons, but rather as collective punishment for the Palestinian population of Gaza.

The revelation that Israel’s blockade is not about security and actually about punishing the Palestinians for putting Hamas in power isn’t new, though. Dov Weisglass, an adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, infamously said that the purpose of the economic sanctions against Gaza is to "put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." Israel has also characterized the purpose behind the siege as one that promotes "no prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis" in Gaza.

These frank admissions that the blockade of Gaza is designed to punish its civilian population, however, are missing from the majority of our media outlets. A Nexis search only turns up mentions of the Israeli government document about "economic warfare" in publications associated with McClatchy. And before the document was revealed, the Weisglass comment was rarely mentioned in the U.S. media. Perhaps U.S. media outlets think that reporting that Israel is engaged in collective punishment is too harsh for American ears.

This article originally appeared at the national media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s blog.

 

69 Responses

  1. hayate
    June 14, 2010, 11:31 pm

    “The revelation that Israel’s blockade is not about security and actually about punishing the Palestinians for putting Hamas in power isn’t new, though. Dov Weisglass, an adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, infamously said that the purpose of the economic sanctions against Gaza is to “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” Israel has also characterized the purpose behind the siege as one that promotes “no prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.”

    I suspect this “diet”, “collective punishment for voting Hamas”, is the pr fallback position of the israeli fascists. I think the real methodology here is to make conditions so bad, people will leave. The israelis policies have consistently been ethnic cleansing strategies.

    “These frank admissions that the blockade of Gaza is designed to punish its civilian population, however, are missing from the majority of our media outlets. A Nexis search only turns up mentions of the Israeli government document about “economic warfare” in publications associated with McClatchy. And before the document was revealed, the Weisglass comment was rarely mentioned in the U.S. media. Perhaps U.S. media outlets think that reporting that Israel is engaged in collective punishment is too harsh for American ears.”

    Well, yeah. You don’t go about announcing you are committing war crimes to the impressionable suckers bankrolling the crimes, do you?

    • Shmuel
      June 14, 2010, 11:58 pm

      I think the real methodology here is to make conditions so bad, people will leave.

      Then they must have forgotten to leave the (one-way) door open.

      I see the siege mostly as a combination of revenge, “standing tall” (once defined by an Israeli comedian as the “national erection”), and a need to give voters the sense that the government is actually doing something about these rocket-firing, soldier-kidnapping, Jew-hating, Israel-destroying, murderous barbarians (bit of a vicious cycle, because the government has to justify its violence by demonising the Palestinians, and counter the images it has created with constant violence).

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 12:09 am

        Shmuel June 14, 2010 at 11:58 pm

        ‘I think the real methodology here is to make conditions so bad, people will leave.’

        “Then they must have forgotten to leave the (one-way) door open.”

        Oh, really? Do you mean if Palestinians in Gaza were to ask to immigrate to other lands, the israelis would not let them (provided those other lands would let them in, of course)?

        This after it’s common knowledge there are people in the israeli guv openly advocating the ethnic cleansing of Arab citizens of israel?

        And with all that gas, and probably oil, off shore of Gaza?

      • Avi
        June 15, 2010, 12:25 am

        hayte,

        There’s no need to be so negative all the time. Had you paused for a moment and looked at the information we have heretofore, you’d realize that there is so much to be quite optimistic about.

        For example, that off shore gas can easily be diverted through underwater pipes into Gaza and the destroyed cheese factories can serve as ‘holding facilities’. Do you see where I’m going with this? 1.5 million Gazans. Piece of cake.

        There, problem solved.

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 12:25 am

        hayate,

        It is notoriously difficult to get out of Gaza. Requests to leave are routinely delayed and denied. The policy of “returning” Palestinian “infiltrators” from the West Bank to Gaza, would also seem to indicate that the Israelis want Palestinians in Gaza (as opposed to the WB, which has pretty efficient one-way doors). As much as Israelis would like to see fewer Palestinians in all parts of Palestine, the desire to make them suffer seems to take precedence in the case of Gaza. Dying, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable – as long as they don’t spoil Israel’s “image” in the process.

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 12:50 am

        Shmuel June 15, 2010 at 12:25 am

        “The policy of “returning” Palestinian “infiltrators” from the West Bank to Gaza, would also seem to indicate that the Israelis want Palestinians in Gaza (as opposed to the WB, which has pretty efficient one-way doors).”

        Did you really think I was talking about Israeli desires of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Gaza and moving them over to the West Bank?

        Come on. Try again.

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 12:52 am

        Avi

        Shhhh.

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 1:05 am

        Did you really think I was talking about Israeli desires of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Gaza and moving them over to the West Bank?

        Of course not. Did you really think that that is what I was talking about?

      • Avi
        June 15, 2010, 1:12 am

        Did you really think that that is what I was talking about?

        I think he did; that’s why he shushed me because he couldn’t hear you over my babbling.

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 2:09 am

        I think I’m still having trouble hearing Shmuel. :D

        OK, lets try this again.

        Are the israelis preventing Palestinians living in Gaza from immigrating to other countries, such as in other countries in the Mideast and Europe, if those Palestinians request it and get accepted by those countries?

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 6:14 am

        Are the israelis preventing Palestinians living in Gaza from immigrating to other countries, such as in other countries in the Mideast and Europe, if those Palestinians request it and get accepted by those countries?

        Yes. It is very difficult to get permission to leave for any reason via Egypt, and even harder via Israel (forget about the sea). It is not called the largest open-air prison in the world for nothing. Gazans are literally being held prisoner, in inhuman conditions. I don’t know how the Egyptians are currently managing the Rafah crossing in this respect, since the flotilla massacre, but the Israelis haven’t changed a thing.

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2010, 9:52 am

        Thanks, Shmuel. We can usually depend on you to come up with the basic facts, the ones that matter.

        Israel let the Gazans leave? Why, so they can go to other countries, raise armies and money, and come back and erase Israel from the map, and probably then ally with Al Queada and destroy America? No, Israel could never allow that!

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 10:21 am

        We can usually depend on you

        Usually? Ever since I suggested that Judaism might not be a solo gig, things just haven’t been the same between us, Mooser ;-)

      • Donald
        June 15, 2010, 11:00 am

        Patience, Shmuel. Just answer hayate’s questions like you’re supposed to, so he can give you a clean bill of health as a non-Zionist. He’s deeply suspicious since you defended DS, another one of those nefarious crypto-Zionist spies masquerading as an opponent of Zionism all these years.

        The role of counter-intelligence officer at a blog is a thankless task, but somebody’s got to do it. Or anyway, so it seems.

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 11:35 am

        Patience, Shmuel. Just answer hayate’s questions like you’re supposed to … another one of those nefarious crypto-Zionist spies masquerading as an opponent of Zionism all these years.

        All in a day’s work, Donald. Anything to protect my cover.

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2010, 11:54 am

        Listen here, pal, while you may be wrong about some of the finer points of Jewish theology (and disagreeing with me is adequate proof of that!) there’s no question for me that you are one of the head mayvens concerning Israel and Israeli society and politics. And you know I’ve got only the highest opinion of your personal veracity and your motivations for involvement.
        But that “we” took me, for some reason, right back to Hebrew School and some degrading and horrible experiences with the horah. I have always had a particular and intense horror of “folk dancing”. At that moment, I turned inward to the more solitary aspects of Judaism. And then, as I have related, my Mom caught me self-determining myself. Those are the times that tie a young man’s shoes, as the saying goes.
        Besides, it sounded so, well, French. A “we” culture, forsooth!

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 12:47 pm

        Shmuel June 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

        Thank you.

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 12:48 pm

        Donald June 15, 2010 at 11:00 am

        “Patience, Shmuel. Just answer hayate’s questions like you’re supposed to, so he can give you a clean bill of health as a non-Zionist. He’s deeply suspicious since you defended DS, another one of those nefarious crypto-Zionist spies masquerading as an opponent of Zionism all these years.

        The role of counter-intelligence officer at a blog is a thankless task, but somebody’s got to do it. Or anyway, so it seems.”

        Here, have a lollipop, little boi.

  2. MRW
    June 14, 2010, 11:32 pm

    McClatchy, formerly Knight-Ridder, was the only newspaper to oppose the Iraq War based on real reporting (using their feet to see real documents and secure copies) by their two top investigative reporters. The two won a Pulitzer for it, and they were right: there were no WMDS in Iraq, the aluminum tube story was bogus, and documents were forged.

    • hayate
      June 14, 2010, 11:37 pm

      MRW

      I didn’t know that about McClatchy. That they used to be Knight-Ridder. I noticed that they seem sometimes to have better done news than the usual zionist fare, both now and as Knight-Ridder, though. Interesting, and thanks.

  3. Avi
    June 14, 2010, 11:43 pm

    It’s best if you asked Schumer. He’s the conscience of the Jewish elite in the US, he and Abe Foxman.

    • Mooser
      June 15, 2010, 9:54 am

      C’mon Avi, my esophagus is already scarred from gastric fluid, and anyway, it’s way too early in the day.

  4. Avi
    June 15, 2010, 12:17 am

    More human shields are headed to Gaza to be used as cannon fodder by Hamas.

    Hopefully, this will finally provide Philip Weiss with the evidence he needed all along for the Human Shields story.

    So much to do, so little time. I’m off to hug a LIBERAL Zionist.

    • hayate
      June 15, 2010, 12:59 am

      Avi

      “German Jews ‘indundated’ with requests to join new Gaza aid flotilla”

      One can see the israeli hasbara framing this already…. :D

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 1:00 am

        Hamas, with their nazi Allies from Germany…

      • Avi
        June 15, 2010, 1:22 am

        I actually think they’re liberal Zionists, probably fringe liberal Zionists, like RW and WJ. Unlike the liberal Zionists like yonira, Julian etc.

      • hayate
        June 15, 2010, 2:21 am

        Avi June 15, 2010 at 1:22 am

        “I actually think they’re liberal Zionists, probably fringe liberal Zionists, like RW and WJ. Unlike the liberal Zionists like yonira, Julian etc.”

        What’s the difference between “fringe liberal” and a “liberal” Judeo-supremacist?

      • Chu
        June 15, 2010, 10:29 am

        I think Witty is actually working on blueprints to organize a US led flotilla to Gaza. That’s what liberals do. They look out for the little guy.
        The USS Witty is getting the supplies as we speak.

    • Mooser
      June 15, 2010, 9:57 am

      “Hopefully, this will finally provide Philip Weiss with the evidence he needed all along for the Human Shields story”

      Uh-oh! My moosie-sense senses trouble in Mondoweissenstein!
      And I haven’t even made it to the we-don’t-need-a-change-in-US=policy-just-nicer-US- Jews yet.

      Oh well, here goes….

  5. James
    June 15, 2010, 1:16 am

    the israel blockade is economic warfare.. bds is a completely appropriate response..

    ot, don’t know if any folks had any thoughts on this article from newsweek refuting some of shlomo sands claims..
    the dna of abrahams children
    link to newsweek.com

    • David Samel
      June 15, 2010, 7:46 am

      I have not gotten around to reading the Sands book, though I plan to this summer. I think the question of ancestry and history is interesting, but is of secondary importance in analyzing the current situation.

      Let’s assume for the moment that Sands is wrong, and today’s Jews are the direct descendants of the Israelites who lived in the holy land and were dispersed thousands of years ago. The notion that these people could “return” to their ancient homeland in the 20th century and supplant the “squatters” who were then living on the land (whether for centuries or “only” generations) strikes me as indefensible. The ancient connection, if it exists at all, does not provide present-day Jews with superior rights over non-Jews, and that is precisely how the situation has played out.

      Now assume that Sands is right, and the historical connection between the Jews and Palestine is mostly fictional. The injustice of 20th century Zionism remains roughly the same, and the only difference is that the injustice is based on illusion.

      The problem as I see it is that if we get caught up in a debate over whether Sands is right or wrong, a debate that may be inevitable anyway, it will appear that the debate is truly consequential. In other words, those who dig in their heels and find the new genetic study convincing will insist that there is now a historical basis for Jewish claims to sovereignty over the area, which means rule over non-Jews. I would much prefer to see the whole issue diminished in importance as it relates to present-day rights.

      • ddi
        June 15, 2010, 7:51 am

        “In other words, those who dig in their heels and find the new genetic study convincing will insist that there is now a historical basis for Jewish claims to sovereignty over the area, which means rule over non-Jews. I would much prefer to see the whole issue diminished in importance as it relates to present-day rights.”

        Well said.

      • MHughes976
        June 15, 2010, 3:50 pm

        I think it’s quite important to recognise the historic contribution of many diverse cultural groups to the Palestine of ancient and recent times and the lack of real, scientifically identifiable differences between those groups’ members. We are dealing with claims of right based not on science but on theology. Part of Jewish theology concerns the special rights and historic functions of exiles returning to their land, whereas Christians have a story of evangelists changing history decisively by spreading from one land to all lands, both stories deserving analysis and critique. Sand provides a brisk, I think noteworthy, critique of the Jewish story.

      • Chu
        June 15, 2010, 10:10 am

        “The notion that these people could “return” to their ancient homeland in the 20th century and supplant the “squatters” who were then living on the land (whether for centuries or “only” generations) strikes me as indefensible.”
        I could see a case being made if they lost their land by force and were ready to take it back if a couple of generations later, amassing their army to reconquer what was theirs.
        But 2000 years is just ludicrous. I think their should be a statute of limitations of 100 years maximum for people claiming the right of return!

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 10:34 am

        But 2000 years is just ludicrous. I think their should be a statute of limitations of 100 years maximum for people claiming the right of return!

        And legal, universally-recognised DOCUMENTS attesting to grandad’s citizenship/residency in said country. No birth certificate, draft notice, title deed, etc. – no automatic repatriation. The fact that grandad may have prayed in the direction of Olympus, believed that he was descended from Achilles himself and studied the Iliad religiously, is not sufficient grounds for a national homestead in Thessaly.

      • lysias
        June 15, 2010, 10:44 am

        I was able to get an Irish passport because I could show the Irish embassy the baptismal certificate of one of my parents. Actually, to get an Irish passport, it’s enough to document that one of your parents or gransparents was born on Ireland (for this purpose, including Northern Ireland). Actually, both my parents and all four of my grandparents were born on the island of Ireland (although, at the time they were born, it was part of the territory of the then-existing United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,) but one parent was enough.

      • David Samel
        June 15, 2010, 10:46 am

        From an Israeli perspective, Chu, 62 down, 38 to go. The finish line is in sight. I’m only half-kidding. I think the long-range Israeli plan is to delay, delay, delay, thereby accumulating more and more years, more and more decades, of a status quo that becomes more and more entrenched and difficult to rectify. I don’t see what else the long-range plan could be.

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 10:52 am

        lysias: I was able to get an Irish passport because I could show the Irish embassy the baptismal certificate of one of my parents.

        And you weren’t even part of movement that sought to take over Eire and establish a “national home” for yourself and a few million friends, just because you (hypothetically, of course) all happen to believe in leprechauns and remember the Blarney Stone in your prayers.

      • lareineblanche
        June 15, 2010, 10:22 am

        Exactly David. The whole problem about framing the issue this way is that even if it were true, it has no bearing on whether or not Jews have a “right of return”, why would it? The whole idea is absurd, and the argument is as thin as a crepe.
        I propose we all make aliyah to southeast Africa! I’m printing up passports and money as we speak…

      • James
        June 15, 2010, 10:27 am

        david – thanks for the broader perspective on this.. james

    • lysias
      June 15, 2010, 7:48 am

      The Newsweek article says the DNA does not support the Khazar descent theory, but that’s only a peripheral part of Sand’s case. The basis of his case is that current Jews have a lot of blood in them that is not from the ancient Hebrews, and the study discussed in the article says the DNA does support Sand’s view that an awful lot of non-Jewish people in the Greco-Roman world were converted to Judaism, so that European Jews significantly diverge in DNA from Middle Eastern Jews.

      There’s also this:

      The Druze, Bedouins, and Palestinians were closest to the Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian Jews.

      So the DNA of Palestinians is apparently very much like that of Middle Eastern Jews.

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2010, 9:59 am

        “So the DNA of Palestinians is apparently very much like that of Middle Eastern Jews”

        Okay, that does it! I’m headed to the hospital for a complete blood-and-filter change!

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2010, 10:00 am

        And yes, that’s always been my opinion too. Sands is interesting, but really, makes no difference.

      • David Samel
        June 15, 2010, 10:07 am

        Mooser, it’s Sand not Sands! Where the hell did you get that mistake from? Be careful and check your sources for accuracy.

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2010, 11:03 am

        Thanks, David, for the correction. And of course, upon reflection (who is that handsome fellow in the mirror?) it’s obvious: It’s always “The Sands” to me.

        “check your sources for accuracy.”

        I ask that handsome and fascinating guy in the mirror, and he always says I’m right! I don’ need no fahrstunkener sources!

      • David Samel
        June 15, 2010, 11:36 am

        Excuse me if I’m being a little dense, Mooser, but I’m not sure if you got my joke (some people around here have not). I was the one who called him Sands, and you merely repeated my mistake. I think I should give up on this humor thing.

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2010, 11:59 am

        Yup, I just saw that, you did add a good old anterior sibilant, didn’t you? Like I said, blame legalised gambling.

      • decentjew
        June 16, 2010, 1:03 pm

        Don’t sweat it, David.
        Mooser’s whole life is a clerical error.

    • Keith
      June 15, 2010, 10:02 pm

      JAMES- I have always considered it somewhat ludicrous to maintain that Ethiopian Jews are genetically more closely related to Ashkenazi Jews than to Ethiopian Gentiles. These studies are extremely biased and politically motivated by Zionism’s racist need to insist upon an actual Jewish race. This is reminiscent of the Nazi geneticists, who at least didn’t have the problem of such obvious physical differences between members of the “Aryan race.” Shlomo Sand discusses Israeli genetic studies in his book, his account of the “priestly gene” being somewhat humorous. He summarizes the results of decades of biased research thusly: “Yet so far, no research had found unique and unifying characteristics of Jewish heredity based upon random sampling of genetic material whose origin is not known in advance.”

  6. Debonnaire
    June 15, 2010, 1:48 am

    You’d think that people who’d been enrolled unwillingly in the Auchswitz Weight Watchers Clinic would refrain from enrolling others in a similar clinic once they were in charge. Well, actually no, because see…that might require having a heart and\or a soul. Encumbrances upon the modern Jew.

  7. Richard Parker
    June 15, 2010, 2:12 am

    I don’t see that this refutes anything at all. The thing that’s missing from this study is the elephant in the room; the other Semitic peoples of the Middle East, including particularly the Palestinians, who might be expected to have a large number of genomic markers in common with the presumed ancestors of the Jews.
    When Dr Arnaiz-Villena published a paper suggesting the close relationship of Palestinians to Jews, his paper was withdrawn from the prestigious journal Human Immunology (the journal even asked recipients to rip out the article and destroy it), he was sacked from his job, and sued in court on a trumped-up charge.
    link to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    because he said in his paper that ‘Palestinians lived in concentration camps’ – well, don’t they? Ten years later the truth is coming out.

    • lysias
      June 15, 2010, 9:46 am

      Sounds like Arnaiz-Villena has been exonerated. From his Wikipedia entry:

      Jews and Palestinians

      Arnaiz-Villena’s research was internationally reported following the publication of a paper on the genetic history of Jews and Palestinians, in the journal Human Immunology. This became controversial because of its assertions about the origins of the Palestine/Israeli conflict. Following strong criticism, it was withdrawn from the journal and deleted from the scientific archive. Also, academics who had already received a copy of the journal were urged to “physically remove” the pages with the article, in a move that had no precedent in research publishing.[4] The comments about Arab-Israeli conflicts were described as “extreme political writing”, which included claims that Palestinians lived in “concentration camps”. Arnaiz-Villena was removed from the journal’s editorial board. The decision was met with opposition from several academics. Andrew Goffey, a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University, England, observing that “it was conceded that the article had not been removed on the basis of its scientific evidence,” failed to find anything offensive in the paper. Several scientists wrote to the publishers to support Arnaiz-Villena and to protest about their heavy-handedness. One of them said: “If Arnaiz-Villena had found evidence that Jewish people were genetically very special, instead of ordinary, you can be sure no one would have objected to the phrases he used in his article. This is a very sad business.”[5]

      Suspension, accusations and counter-accusations

      In 2002, Arnaiz-Villena was suspended without pay from the Hospital Doce de Octubre, after being charged with embezzlement of funds. He was accused of “purchase of products not used in his department’s health care activities; purchase of hospital products used in health care activities but in quantities much greater than needed; falsification of statistical data apparently to justify purchases; humiliating treatment of department staff; delay in health care activities; and transfer of department products to the university.”[38] Though suspended from the hospital he continued his work at the University. One year later he was reinstated to the hospital because “his basic and Constitutional Human Rights had been broken” according to a three body Court.[39] All accusations were declared invalid (2003). On November 2003 the Court of the Contentious-Administrative n. 8 of Madrid condemned him to 33 months of suspension from work without pay, for one very serious offence and three serious [40] Another three-body Court judgment again declared invalid all the accusations.[41] Arnaiz-Villena was in practice never punished because he belongs only to University staff (Full Professor) and not to the Hospital one. The Public Prosecutor in an unusual thirteen type-written sheets concluded the accusations were not proved and that some of Arnaiz-Villena collaborators were pressured to declare against him. Lastly, The Royal College of Physicians of Madrid carried out an extensive investigation at Arnaiz-Villena’s request and concluded that none of the accusations were soundly based.[42]

      Let us remember that in 2002 Arnaz’s right-wing government was in power in Spain.

  8. Richard Parker
    June 15, 2010, 2:57 am

    This is priceless; it’s an Israeli satire entitled “World Athletics Championship 1995, Stuttgart, Germany,”
    link to youtube.com

    h/t Coteret

    • Avi
      June 15, 2010, 4:50 am

      Richard, that was indeed, priceless.

      “So we can smaller the hashpalah [embarrassment]”.

    • decentjew
      June 15, 2010, 9:54 am

      He’s a GOOD BOY this Tommy Friedman! All his life..he want to write for your paper. I know I know…instead of brains, he has a little bit kreplachs up there…but he’s such a sweet boy! He writes for you maybe a little opinion piece now and then? Just a little something…not much? What harm? Haven’t the Jews suffered enough? You give him job…yes?

      • Mooser
        June 15, 2010, 10:03 am

        “Haven’t the Jews suffered enough? “

        Apparently not, but I have no control over who comments here.

  9. Richard Witty
    June 15, 2010, 5:28 am

    Nearly certainly, the purpose of the blockade is dual, not singular as Alex and fans articulate.

    If it is dual, if Israel and Hamas are in a state of war (they are), then the issue of weapons smuggling is an issue.

    Today in Haaretz, the head of the shin bet declared that as the weapons are continued to be smuggled, that it is necessary TO continue the blockade.

    There is no way currently that Israel will just open the borders, land crossings or sea and air, without Gaza assuming the full responsibilities of sovereignty.

    There is the possibility of international agency (not likely the UN) assuming responsibility for governance of the Gaza port, but the fantasy of Gaza civilians having ungoverned port access is less than remote.

    • lysias
      June 15, 2010, 9:47 am

      The EU’s offer, which Israel has already rejected, to inspect shipments in Cyprus before letting them through ought to be a sufficent answer to any problems about weapons.

      • Richard Witty
        June 15, 2010, 10:12 am

        Where there is a will there is a way.

        Israel has acknowledged that the volume and range of goods that reaches Gaza civilians NEEDS to increase.

        If dissent keeps up that message, then it will not disappear.

        If the message devolves to only rage and “resistance”, then Israel will drop the motivation in favor of a fortress.

        Again, there is no way that an unregulated Gaza port will be accepted internationally. This isn’t remote Central Asia, or Indian Ocean Africa.

        This is the Mediterranean we are talking about. And the prospect of an “Iranian proxy” port in the Mediterranean IS on the EU’s minds.

      • Shmuel
        June 15, 2010, 10:17 am

        The EU’s offer, which Israel has already rejected, to inspect shipments in Cyprus before letting them through ought to be a sufficent answer to any problems about weapons.

        So one might say that Israel is using 1.5 million Gazan civilians as a human shield, exposing them to extreme hardship, not for the sake of inspections vs. no inspections, but for the sake of their own inspections, as opposed to those carried out by someone else. Just to be absolutely clear about the hardship and its purpose (at least according to the “arms shipment” justification of the siege).

    • Mooser
      June 15, 2010, 10:03 am

      See what I mean?

    • Mooser
      June 15, 2010, 11:06 am

      “as Alex and fans articulate”

      Oh, get a Facebook page, Witty, then you can have friends and fans of your own. And BTW, pal, palpable envy and resentment is not an attractive quality. I don’t care what it says in your Sanskrit Talmud.

  10. Hostage
    June 15, 2010, 7:34 am

    Israel says its blockade is legal because it is in “a state of armed conflict” with Hamas. The fact that Israeli leaders connected the raid in international waters to an “armed conflict” in Gaza and attacked neutral shipping trying to break the blockade provides a basis to invoke the war crimes provisions of the Rome Statute and the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

    • Chaos4700
      June 15, 2010, 8:30 am

      I’d say you’re right. Israel is painting themselves into a rhetorical corner with their own doublespeak. Here’s hoping they finally get nailed to the wall over their atrocities.

    • lareineblanche
      June 15, 2010, 9:47 am

      I’ve posted this elsewhere, but it seems really important to me. Israel and the US (beginning with the Occupied Territories) have been consistently eroding the framework of international law and human rights law in the name of the fight against terrorism, in order to be able to target and detain anyone, anywhere. This is akin to the US “legalization” of torture during the Cheney years. By arguing that the “war on terror” is a new kind of conflict, and that the existing laws are inadequate to treat it, they have tried to expand the laws, making them more flexible and useful for their purposes, blurring the distinctions between who are “combatants” and who aren’t. Just look at the Dubai assassination, the US drone attacks, the continuing murders in the Occupied Territories, Gaza. The “war on terror” has given them a pretext to explode parts of international law and act openly as rogue states.

      This relates to the Israelis claiming that Hamas combatants are “impossible to identify”, “hiding behind civilians”, etc. The flotilla “probe” will no doubt be carried out within this framework.

      The UN report :
      link to google.com

      A good piece on by blogger “emptywheel” at firedoglake :
      link to emptywheel.firedoglake.com

      • lysias
        June 15, 2010, 9:48 am

        The Germans justified their barbaric behavior in their war on the Eastern Front against Soviet Russia by saying it was a new kind of war, a Weltanschauungskrieg.

      • lareineblanche
        June 15, 2010, 10:10 am

        Thanks.
        Weltanschauungskrieg :
        I get “world-view war” in English, and “guerre de vision du monde” in French.
        Not very far from Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”, no?
        Ideological trash and propaganda, very effective for rallying people to a cause.

      • David Samel
        June 15, 2010, 10:14 am

        No matter how many times you post it, it cannot be said often enough. It’s as if Israel, and indeed the US, are saying, “Real men don’t abide by international law!” In fact, at a “Lawfare” conference I attended, the purpose of which was to promote the very effort you describe, John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN and co-founder with Lord Trimble of the Friends of Israel Initiative, declared to a packed auditorium: “I believe in disproportionate force,” and “If other countries want to subordinate themselves to international law, be my guest.” These statements, quoted verbatim, were greeted with thunderous applause. It’s the Golden Rule: He who has the gold (or the guns) makes the rules.

      • lysias
        June 15, 2010, 10:18 am

        At an interdepartmental meeting during the Bush I administration, Attorney General Barr said at one point, “F*** international law!”, as I was told by someone who was at the meeting.

        So the attitude has been there for quite some time. But at that time they had not yet gone public with it.

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