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.
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Almost everyone thinks the blockade should end.
The UK government:
[[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%5D%5D
[[End blockade of Gaza, EU tells Israel, Press TV, 28/5/10, http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=128131§ionid=351020202%5D%5D
The UN also condemed the blockade
[[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=%5D%5D
Indeed it has been calling for the easing of the blockade for some time
[[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%5D%5D
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 !!
Humanitarian aid can be transported by the Red Cross
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]]
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
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.
[[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%5D%5D 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.
It's the only way to stop rocket shipments to the Gaza strip
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.
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.
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, In Praise of Blockades, June 14, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 37, http://weeklystandard.com/articles/praise-blockades%5D%5D Kristol could equally have added that it helps the US by keeping another terrorist organisation down and occupied.
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.
What do you think?