Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Baffled by the Gaza Blockade

I am not baffled that Israel wants to filter deliveries to Gaza. It seems nuts to me to wonder why.
But I of course can be baffled by exactly how they filter, which is the subject of this excellent article by Diaa Hadid, one of the few AP reporters in the area I wouild trust.
Maj. Guy Inbar, an Israeli military official, said Israel bans "luxury" food items because they "will not be consumed by the public - but only by the rich and corrupt Hamas leaders."
The luxuries include goods considered staples in Gaza, like honey, instant coffee and spices, according to Bashi and Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh.
Not included are the frozen seafood or low-fat yogurt purchased by Gaza's wealthy few at the al-Rimal supermarket, or facial scrubs and skin-whitening sunscreen at a nearby upmarket pharmacy - all from Israel. Seafood comes as frozen meat, skin creams as feminine hygiene products and diet yogurt comes as dairy, categories permitted by Israel.
Some items have now been allowed to enter after being banned for years, like clothing, shoes and tea, providing the surreal sight of gleaming, expensive boxes of Israeli-imported caffeine-free blueberry tea sold alongside knocked-around boxes of tunnel-smuggled black tea.
This is what I hate about such blockades. Far better if the Israelis had simply blocked imports they could identify as significant to self-defence; instead it is clear this blockade, like any similar government program, is full of the whim of the regulators who love to regulate.
Get serious, Israel!


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