Israel should lift its blockade of Gaza.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza is the cause behind the aid convoy that was boarded by Israeli soldiers. The aid ships were attempting to break the blockade to bring supplies to Gaza that has withstood more than 1000 days of ‘siege’. However it is disputed both how effective the blockade is and how legal it is. Israel claims that it allows in plenty of humanitarian aid and only blocks weapons that groups whose aim is to destroy Israel such as Hamas are smuggling in while the US says that Gaza gets only a third of the humanitarian aid it needs.

Israel should lift its blockade of Gaza.

Yes because... No because...

Almost everyone thinks the blockade should end.

The UK government:

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

It (the blockade) is an absolute humanitarian catastrophe, and we should acknowledge it as such, but it is also not in Israel's own long-term self-interest... the blockade on Gaza is neither sustainable nor tenable in its present form.

[[Clegg says Gaza blockade should end, Channel 4 News, 2/6/10, http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/international_politics/clegg+says+gaza+blockade+should+end/3666647

The EU:

Catherine Ashton, EU Foreign Affairs

The continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counterproductive... We would like to reiterate the EU's call for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza

[[End blockade of Gaza, EU tells Israel, Press TV, 28/5/10, http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128131&sectionid=351020202

The UN also condemed the blockade

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco

today's bloodshed would have been avoided if repeated calls on Israel to end the counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza had been heeded... the blockade is unacceptable and counterproductive and must end.

[[Secretary-General 'shocked' by deadly raid on Gaza aid flotilla, UN, 31/5/10, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34863&Cr=gaza&Cr1=
Indeed it has been calling for the easing of the blockade for some time

Ban Ki Moon

As I have said before, the Gaza blockade is devastating the population and achieving little in security and political terms. If the crossings continue to remain closed for most goods, the people of Gaza will slide into even deeper hardship, with the risk of further radicalization.

[[Ban Ki-Moon, TRANSCRIPT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, 11 June 2009, http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sgsm12306.doc.htm

The UK government - and other back seat drivers - cannot advise lifting the blockade - without addressing the flip side of this lifting - i.e. what alternative measure can they suggest - to keep massive arms smuggling into gaza - which will ultimately lead to more fighting and bite right back at the people of gaza !!

Israel should lift its blockade of Gaza.

Yes because... No because...

Humanitarian aid can be transported by the Red Cross

Didn't Israel blow up a red-cross hospital ; a few years ago.Weapons testing was it? Enough said.

This is from January last year Israel bombarded civilian targets in Gaza, including a UN building, a red cross hospital and a building housing several media organizations
[[http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/15/israel_pounds_gaza_shells_crowded_hospital]] [[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5478395.ece]]

The Red Cross certainly doesn't approve of Israel's behavior
[[http://debatewise.org/debates/2009-should-israel-face-sanctions-over-the-storming-of-a-gaza-aid-convoy]] and has condemned the blockade.

International Committee of the Red Cross

Gazans continue to suffer the effects of siege-induced poverty and warfare. The closure imposed on Gaza three years ago and the effects of Israel's military operation in the Strip in January 2009 are crippling the entire economy. Humanitarian aid alone cannot address the massive needs in Gaza, where civilians are paying the price of the blockade and ongoing hostilities.

The ICRC urges Israel to lift the closure and calls upon States, political authorities and the organized armed groups concerned to do what is necessary to reopen the Gaza Strip and safeguard the life and dignity of its civilian population.

[[Israel: ICRC visits detained activists, International Committee of the Red Cross, 1/6/10, http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/palestine-news-010610 Essentially while aid CAN be transported by the Red Cross it is hardly ideal for anyone involved except for the Israeli Military. Aid organisations are subjected to delays and searches and cannot transport as much as they would like while the Gazan people suffer.

Although there's a so-called "siege", there is no food or medicine shortage in Gaza, because Israel allows aid to reach the Gaza strip through the Red Cross, after being properly searched. Therefore, the convoy's troubles were a result of attempting to make a political statement by violent means and under the cover of false pretence of "humanitarian effort".[[http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/israel_mda_040204?opendocument]]

Israel should lift its blockade of Gaza.

Yes because... No because...

It's the only way to stop rocket shipments to the Gaza strip

Searching a ship is different from killing 9 people and injuring 30 people on it.

A blockade does not mean that there should be any violence involved in the storming of a ship with soldiers. Most ships are searched by customs or the police not by turning up with helicopters and fully armed military units.

Besides there is another option rather than an Israeli blockade. That is to persuade the international community of the threat and have a UN sanctioned blockade where the UN lets in as much as is needed rather than allowing Israel to have complete control over life and death in the Gaza strip. If not the UN then this is the kind of thing that may be just right for NATO with a large number of navies that are reasonably redundant in todays Europe. This would serve to prevent any rocket shipments to Gaza which however have often been done by land through the tunnels anyway.[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8367871.stm]] [[http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3895876,00.html]] It is unfortunate that Israel is always determined to act unilaterally when we have seen with the US attempts to act unilaterally that goinng it alone is unpopular in the world.

Let's face it, the Hamas regime in Gaza isn't an ecumenical council full of saints. They routinely fire rockets on Israel, hurting civilians indiscriminately, including hits on schools and kindergartens. Just yesterday 3 rockets hit surrounding villages in Israel. Israel has a right to prevent this, and according to international law, has a right to stop ships at sea and search them.

Searching the ship was not the cause of the killings. Please watch the many youtube clips of the "peace seeking" passengers with iron rods and clups.

Israel should lift its blockade of Gaza.

Yes because... No because...

Helps others

Some of this is just silly. If the palestinian people were inclined to thank Israel for weakening Hamas then why not simply not support them, the Palestinian people can do a lot more damage to Hamas than Israel.

It is difficult to argue that the blockade helps the Arab states much as Iran's influence is mostly through domestic organisations such as potentially the Muslim Brotherhood and the Shia peoples in the Arabian Peninsula. On the other hand while Israel is blockading gaza creating a humanitarian crisis the blockade can act as a rallying point for opposition movements.

The idea of the blockade denying Iran a port seems to be the most far fetched. Iran does not have much of a navy so why would it deploy some of it to the Med rather than to defend its own coast which is potentially threatened by the US as well as the Arab states. Even if it was so inclined would Gaza be the best place? Rather it would make more sense to use either Syria or Lebanon as both would make for more stable positions for a base. Particularly Syria as Israel would be less likely to try to attack two nations at once. If the port was simply for trade then what would the Europeans have to lose by it being there?

At least on the PA Kristol may be correct, it is certainly in Fatah's interest to keep Hamas occupied in Gaza. On the other hand Europe and the Arab states have little reason to oppose the blockade, what do they lose? A tiny amount of trade and the potential for Israel to be creating more extremists and terrorists.

The blockade does not just benefit Israel, it helps others as well in the case of some like the European Union meaning that they dont need to do anything.

William Kristol

The Palestinian Authority owes Israel thanks for keeping Hamas at bay. The Palestinian people owe Israel thanks for weakening Hamas. The Arab states owe Israel thanks for controlling Hamas and curbing Iranian influence. The Europeans owe Israel thanks for denying Iran a port on the Mediterranean.

[[William Kristol, In Praise of Blockades, June 14, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 37, http://weeklystandard.com/articles/praise-blockades Kristol could equally have added that it helps the US by keeping another terrorist organisation down and occupied.

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