Easing Gaza's Siege: Bogus and Unacceptable - by Stephen Lendman
On June 17, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid and Reuters headlined, "Israel to ease Gaza land blockade," saying:
"Israel's security cabinet voted Thursday to ease its land blockade of the Gaza Strip, following its deadly raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla bound for the (mischaracterized) Hamas-ruled territory," in fact, its legitimate government.
An official statement said:
"The Security Cabinet conducted an extensive discussion over the last two days regarding adjustments in Israel's Gaza policy.
It was agreed to:
-- Liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza.
-- Expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision.
-- Continue existing security procedures to prevent the inflow of weapons and war materiel.
-- the Cabinet will decide in the coming days on additional steps to implement this policy.
-- Israel expects the international community to work toward the immediate release of Gilad Shalit," the captured Israeli soldier on June 25, 2006 near the Kerem Shalom crossing, southeast of Rafah - one soldier compared to thousands of Palestinian civilians, held illegally in Israeli prisons under horrific conditions, including torture and other forms of abuse.
According to Raed Fattouh, Palestinian supplies coordinator for the Territory, the approved list will include all food items, toys, stationery, kitchen utensils, mattresses and towels, excluding most of what Gaza needs, including construction materials to rebuild.
For example, cement will still be banned, Israel saying Hamas could use it to build military infrastructure. Also, Israel's official statement was vague, saying implementation procedures will follow, emphasizing that "existing security procedures" will continue - showing the announcement was a sham PR gesture to diffuse worldwide anger and satisfy world leaders, short of fully opening Gaza's land and sea borders for free in and out movement of people and goods. Nothing less can be accepted.
Yet Israel's ruse may have worked.
AFP quoted EU diplomat, Catherine Ashton, welcoming the decision, saying:
"We're looking with great interest to what the Israeli cabinet has said this morning," adding that she hopes "many more goods" will follow and stands ready to support Israel with a mission on the ground.