Jun 02 2010

Why Are the Israelis Blockading Gaza?

The funny thing about nearly all of the coverage of the Gaza flotilla debacle is that the reason for the blockade is never explained. It’s as if the Israeli government were composed of inhuman barbarians intent on squeezing Palestinians into misery for no reason at all.

Why is there a blockade around Gaza? Actually, it’s quite simple:

Hamas, which runs Gaza, is recognized by many countries as a terrorist organization. Imagine if Al Queda somehow won an election in Prince Edward Island. Canadians would have no compunction about blockading the land of Anne of Green Gables.

To put it another way, Israel will call off its blockade of Hamas when the USA calls off its hunt for Osama bin Ladin.

Blockade is a legitimate tool under international law used as an effective naval measure by several Western countries. Think of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. According to section 7.7.1 of the US Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, the “right of blockade is intended to prevent vessels and aircraft, regardless of their cargo, from crossing an established and publicized cordon separating the enemy from international waters.”

Another point that gets lost in the flotilla story is that humanitarian aid is already getting into Gaza. Israel has already provided over one million tons of humanitarian aid in the past 18 months; nearly one ton for every Gazan. It’s true that most people in Gaza certainly aren’t living the high life; but that’s the point of sanctions, to pressure the population to rise up against their reckless and wrong-headed leaders (assuming the leaders themselves are not willing to change course).

Not to put too fine a point on it, here’s Gaza in the grip of its humanitarian crisis:

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Why Are the Israelis Blockading Gaza?”

  1. Fredon 02 Jun 2010 at 1:41 pm

    A weapons blockade yes, but look what Israel let’s through the border every year


    Wonder if that data includes tourists going to Gaza for fine dining and shopping ??


    Just wondering . . .

  2. dirkon 02 Jun 2010 at 3:43 pm

    JN wrote…”Imagine if Al Queda somehow won an election in Prince Edward Island.”…

    Nice to see you finally admit the facts,i.e… that Hama’s was democratically elected . So basically what you are saying is that, if certain countries do not like/approve of the ELECTED government of a particular country they can violate international laws etc, to undermine & punish that government and the peoples of that particular country.

    JN wrote…”but that’s the point of sanctions, to pressure the population to rise up against their reckless and wrong-headed leaders”…

    Interesting, so it is about collective punishment, Which is by the way Jonathon ,a violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

    JN wrote…”It’s true that most people in Gaza certainly aren’t living the high life;”…

    yike… its it a-lot more serious than that Jonathon. People have and are dying because they can not get proper medical care. Also according to many many reports 4 out of 5 people in Gaza need humanitarian support. Then there’s the matter of housing after Israel destroyed tens of thousands during its invasion which have yet to be rebuilt due to the blockade,cement & other building materials are on the list of banned products.

    Personally I support peace & negotiations. In fact Hamas stated , back in Sept 2008 before European politicians ,that they would accept a Palestinian state within the 67 borders,let the negotiations begin .- my source Haaretz


  3. jnarveyon 02 Jun 2010 at 4:02 pm


    1. I’ve never denied that Hamas was elected. Hitler was elected, too. He was still a fascist, and his ilk deserved what they got when Canadians and our allies steamrolled the dying Nazi regime through Europe.

    Elections do not a democracy make. And as a friend you’re acquainted with has said on occasion, I’ve never heard a good argument against shooting fascists.

    2. Actually, the United Nations explicitly approves of sanctions and similar sorts of actions as an alternative to war. Thus, the Israelis are no more guilty of “collective punishment” than the world is guilty of collective punishment against the Iranians for sanctions against that regime, or against Myanmar. Sanctions and blockades are perfectly consistent with international law.

    If the Palestinians of Gaza want to reconnect with the rest of the world and develop a real economy and society no longer 100 per cent dependent on humanitarian aid from Israel, they can do so overnight. All that’s required is a rejection of Hamas. They can do it peacefully, like in an Orange Revolution, or by throwing every Hamas leader they can find off the nearest cliff.

  4. real conservativeon 02 Jun 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Trying to have it both ways is bad karma, Israel is digging a deep hole for itself.

  5. Garyon 02 Jun 2010 at 8:28 pm

    What the useful-idiots don’t get is that the Islamofascists will slit their throats first like dumb sheep lead to the slaughter house with crumbs.
    The Pro-Hamas thugs in canada pretend to support homosexuals and the Liberal pro-Abortion females on Campus at York and UofT of UofO and others. Hamas murders gays in Gaza just a Hezballah does in Lebanon while the CUPE yahoos march with the hezballah flag waving fascists in Toronto that yell death threats to canadians and terrorism threats to canada.
    Plus, the islamists in gaza and Iraq will use Mosques to store bomb making materials and active weapons like grenades. They have no regard for children or any Civilain near the Mosque if if blows-up by accident. In their mind,all Muslims that died in Allah’s cause goes to paradise so children are pawns to use as shields as we also saw in Toronto for the Tamil-Tiger supporters and people from palestine House taunting the Police.

    Israel is very generous to allow the IDF persons to die protected their enemy’s children that could get killed by the smuggled bombs hidden in homes and Hospitals.
    The other item the idiots can’t see is that i have yet to hear of a Christian Palestinian suicide bomber that not only suffered from israel but then lived with death threats by the Hamas Muslims waiting to kill them once they fullfilled their purpose.
    Aboriginals in canada should take heed to he way the Islamists re-write history and treat the native of the middle east that live that 1000’s of years be Muhammad created islam and Muslims.

    If a Militant Christian group used Detriot to fire rockets into Windsor insisting canada stold their land and built settlemnts their and continue building home in Windsor.
    Would canada just sit back and take it, and would we expect American’s around detriot to allow the rocket to be brought in to Detroit.
    Or if the Islamists in Windsor fire rockets into Detroit and use us as shields…should the American’s just tolerate it and not stop any boat on the great lakes or detroit river?

    I like Texas, the gun laws let me know that if I want to enter someones property and steal the hard eraned posessions I will be shot,just as if I owned the land and it happened to me where my family was threatened by a violent thug.
    Human Rights belong to Humans,not rabid animals bent on slaughtering civilians.

  6. David Zeglenon 02 Jun 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Hey Jonathon,

    While I would never argue that the blockade is illegal, I question its success. If the point of the blockade is “to pressure the population to rise-up” do you see this as being a tenable goal? Under sanctions, Hamas has grown over the past three years, invoking the blockade to justify themselves. They have managed to drastically reduce inter-gang fights with regimented militias, and tightened their oppressive grip on the strip. Gazans may hold Hamas responsible for not resolving the blockade, but given half the population of Gaza is under sixteen, any kind of perceived injustice will be easily remedied with militaristic talk and jihad, and concentrated towards rocketing Israel. Repressive regimes like Burma have had less support to work with than Hamas has, so I’m not convinced a continued siege is going to be effective; it might emboldened Hamas’ rule, making an overthrow less and less possible in the foreseeable future.

  7. David Zeglenon 03 Jun 2010 at 12:31 am

    PS: Although I understand the rhetorical point you’ve made responding to Dirk, Jonathon, its historically incorrect to say Hitler was ever elected. He lost to Hindenburg, coming in second. Von Papen tried negotiating a coalition with Hitler, who responded he would only agree if he was appointed Chancellor, and that no other party could dispute that fact. In exchange Von Papen would become Vice-Chancellor, and Hindenburg would be convinced Hitler would remain powerless because Von Papen would be theoretically pulling Hitler’s strings. So it was an elite coup, not an election.

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