The Blockade is our business not theirs.

This article is chock full of incendiary remarks such as, “Israel’s deadly attack”, “botched raid that killed nine activists”, “deadly attack”, “impoverished Palestinian area” and “too much suffering in Gaza”. Remarks like these set the stage for saying the “blockaid … untenable”. This charge is unsustainable. Gazans are being fed and heavy arms are being kept out. The only reason the international community says its untenable is that they don’t want it to continue. They want to bring Hamas in from the cold. But Hamas is not their enemy, They are israel’s enemy. In effect the international community is our enemy also because they are supporting our enemy. It is legitimate for Israel to consider whether changes should be made to the blockade, but she should be guided by her own interests. Remember every extra missile allowed in may mean 10 Israeli casualties.

And remember too, they are allowing Hezbollah to be rearmed and Iran to build the bomb. Come to think of it, they also allowed Germany to rearm prior to WWII,

New Israeli Tack Needed on Gaza, U.S. Officials Say


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area, senior American officials said Wednesday.

The officials say that Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less Israel’s deadly attack toward Gaza.

“There is no question that we need a new approach to Gaza,” said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy shift is still in the early stages. He was reflecting a broadly held view in the upper reaches of the administration.

Israel would insist that any approach take into account three factors: Israel’s security; the need to prevent any benefit to Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza; and the four-year-old captivity of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit.

Since the botched raid that killed nine activists on Monday, the Israeli government has said that the blockade was necessary to protect Israel against the infiltration into Gaza of weapons and fighters sponsored by Iran.

If there were no blockade in place, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Israeli television on Wednesday evening, it would mean “an Iranian port in Gaza.” He added, “Israel will continue to maintain its right to defend itself.”

But the American officials said they believed that even Mr. Netanyahu understood that a new approach was needed.

Yet Mr. Netanyahu has resisted American pressure in the past. The Obama administration initially demanded a complete freeze on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but had to accept a 10-month partial freeze. Pressure on Israel also carries domestic political risks for Mr. Obama, given the passion of its supporters in the United States.

Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza five years ago and built the makings of an international border. But after Hamas, which rejects Israel’s existence, won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006, Israel cut back on the amount of goods permitted into Gaza. When Sergeant Shalit was seized in a raid in June of that year, commerce was further reduced.

A year later, Hamas drove the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority entirely out of Gaza in four days of street battles, leading Israel to cut off all shipments in and out except basic food, humanitarian aid and urgent medical supplies.

Hamas declines to recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence or accept previous accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The diplomatic group known as the Quartet, made up of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, has said that until Hamas meets those requirements, the Quartet will not deal with it.

But the world powers have grown increasingly disillusioned with the blockade, saying that it has created far too much suffering in Gaza and serves as a symbol not only of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians but of how the West is seen in relation to the Palestinians.

“Gaza has become the symbol in the Arab world of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, and we have to change that,” the senior American official said. “We need to remove the impulse for the flotillas. The Israelis also realize this is not sustainable.”

At a meeting of the Quartet a year ago in Italy, for example, the group asserted that the current situation was not sustainable and called for the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian aid within Gaza, as well as the reopening of crossing points.

But Obama administration officials made it clear that the deaths had given a new urgency to changing the policy.

Pressure against the blockade continued to grow on Wednesday: Turkey, which withdrew its ambassador to Israel after the raid, said full restoration of diplomatic ties was contingent on an end to the blockade.

The new British prime minister, David Cameron, also called for an end to the blockade, criticizing the raid as “completely unacceptable.”

In Israel, officials say there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza because the Defense Ministry makes sure that enough food and medicine reach the population. But international aid groups assert that real malnutrition is growing to about 10 percent and that problems with medical and sanitation supplies are rising perilously because of the Israeli and Egyptian embargoes.

In recent months, Israel has permitted increased — although still quite limited — movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza. One Israeli official said that under Mr. Netanyahu there had been a 20 percent increase in goods, including some limited building materials under third-party supervision so that Hamas would not get hold of them.

But Israel remains adamant, saying that if cement and steel were allowed to pass in any serious amount, they would end up in Hamas missiles and other weapons that would be aimed at Israel.

Discussion in Israel this week has largely focused on the details of the seizure of the ship where the deaths occurred rather than on the broader question of whether the blockade is good policy.

Amos Gilad, a senior defense official, said in an interview that in Gaza, “we only have bad solutions, worse solutions and worst solutions.” He added: “Hamas is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction. We, on the contrary, are facilitating them to bring in all kinds of food, materials; they are even exporting strawberries and flowers.”

Aluf Benn, a senior editor and columnist for the left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote on Wednesday that the time had come for a new Gaza policy.

“The attempt to control Gaza from outside, via its residents’ diet and shopping lists, casts a heavy moral stain on Israel and increases its international isolation,” he wrote. “Every Israeli should be ashamed of the list of goods prepared by the Defense Ministry, which allows cinnamon and plastic buckets into Gaza, but not houseplants and coriander. It’s time to find more important things for our officers and bureaucrats to do than update lists.”

He suggested sealing the Israel-Gaza border and informing the international community that Israel was no longer responsible for Gaza in any way, forcing Gaza to turn to Egypt as its corridor to the outside world.

Egypt has consistently rejected such an idea in the past, asserting that Gaza is Israel’s responsibility because it has occupied it since 1967.

One of the primary rationales for the blockade offered by Israeli officials is the need to create a material and political gap between the West Bank, run by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, and Gaza, run by Hamas. And political surveys have shown a preference for Fatah and discontent with Hamas among Palestinians. But the latest events, the American officials say, have given Hamas a dangerous lift.

Isabel Kershner contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

June 3, 2010 | 1 Comment »

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  1. “untenable”: The dictionaries give two definitions: 1) not capable of being defended and 2) not capable of being occupied; the word has the same root as “tenant,” “tenancy,” etc., all from Old French tenir, “to hold,” itself from Latin tenere, “to hold.”

    It is an Obama Administration word that is used by White House types to show how lawyerly and smart they are. Like Rahm Emanuel, who wanted to be thought of as some kind of Yoda/Obi Wan Kenobi-like sage when he issued his famous statement that one should never waste the opportunity presented by a crisis (which he bastardized and stole from the common knowledge that the Chinese ideogram for “crisis” combines the ideograms for “opportunity” and “danger”), this spokesperson sought to give the NYT’s Bronner and other journalists present the impression that he/she is a deeply wise, considered person who, presumably reflecting the thinking of the deeply wise, sage Obama White House, has found the Israeli (in combination with Egypt, actually) policy of blockading Gaza to be “untenable.”

    So let’s unpack what the OWH (Obama White House) means when it says the policy is “untenable.” They presumably mean what other pretentious people mean when they use this pretentious, pseudointellectual word. In common parlance among pretentious people, “untenable” has two meanings: empirically ineffective (that is, it doesn’t accomplish what it is meant to do) and morally repugnant or indefensible. A belief in a flat earth is untenable in the first sense: if you base your workings in the physical world on such a belief, you will fail at your endeavors, proving the flat-earth belief “untenable”.

    I assume the OWH meant the Israeli (and, again, Egyptian) blockade policy was untenable in both senses: it failed empirically to accomplish its intent, and it is morally repugnant. About issue one: in fact, by all accounts, the blockade has worked quite well. Since it was instituted in 2007, following Hamas’s “winning” (actually, gaining a plurality, not a majority) an election the (supposedly uncritically pro-Israel) Bush Administration had forced Israel to allow and then forcibly seizing all power in Gaza, pushing aside its PA/Fatah rivals with violence and intimidation, the blockade has made life difficult for Gazan civilians without actually depriving of necessities such as food, medicine, and shelter, with the Israeli point being: maintain a state of war against us, support Hamas, and commit acts of violence, and we will (at minimum) make life difficult for you. Gazans were forced to admit, contrary to hysterical claims by international Islamists and their Western leftists allies, that in fact they were not starving or going without necessary medical care, though things were rough, there was raw sewage in Gaza City and Rafah, damaged streets and buildings as a result of Hamas’s war with Israel had not been repaired, etc., there was no humanitarian crisis as this is generally defined. So on point one regarding OWH’s use of the term “untenable,” that the Israeli (-Egyptian) blockade policy was empirically ineffective (i.e., not working): Case unfounded.

    Point two: “untenable” in the general parlance sense of “morally repugnant/indefensible.” If this is the case, then the incident regarding the “humanitarian” flotilla and the IDF is irrelevant. The events of predawn May 31, 2010 have no bearing on whether the policy was morally right or wrong, since the policy has been in effect since 2007. And if this is the position of the OWH about the blockade in general, then why did it wait 16+ months to state this publicly? If this has not been OWH (and previous Bush Administration) thinking prior to 5/31/10, what about this incident made the whole policy morally indefensible?

    In any case, “untenable,” aside from being a pretentious word, is one that in common parlance is deeply ambiguous, i.e., a weasel word, i.e., a word you can hide behind if you want to confuse your audience and protect yourself, in a cowardly way, from direct attacks on your statements. If you want to say someone’s policy is ineffective and stupid and not accomplishing its stated purpose, use those words. If you want to say someone’s policy is morally repugnant and indefensible, use those words. Maybe you won’t come across as such a sage, wise genius as using the word “untenable,” but your meaning(s) will be clear.

    I join all others on this site who have expressed shock and grief at the horrible and untimely passing of Ayn Reagan.