White House welcomes empty promise from Israel on Gaza

“Today, the United States welcomes the new policy towards Gaza announced by the Government of Israel, which responds to the calls of many in the international community. Once implemented, we believe these arrangements should significantly improve conditions for Palestinians in Gaza, while preventing the entry of weapons,” the White House press secretary’s office said in a statement released on Sunday morning.

And what, one might wonder, is the substance of the new policy that Washington is so swift to praise? This is what an Israeli official told Haaretz: “we will allow the entry of food items, house wares, writing implements, mattresses and toys. Beyond that, we have not said a thing.” The Los Angeles Times notes: “the government has yet to specify what items will be banned or when the changes will take effect.”

The Guardian says:

Aid agencies have cautioned that concrete implementation of any relaxation of the siege could be hampered by Israeli foot-dragging. “The siege must be ended, not just eased,” said UN spokesman Chris Gunness. “Otherwise Israel continues to be in breach of international law.”

Gisha, an Israeli human rights organisation, said in a statement: “A policy consistent with international law would allow free passage of raw materials into Gaza, export of finished goods, and the travel of persons not just for ‘humanitarian’ reasons but also for work, study, and family unity – subject only to reasonable security checks.”

Ziad al-Zaza, a Hamas cabinet minister, called the Israeli move a “deception”. The blockade must be lifted completely “to allow Gaza to import all necessary materials, particularly cement, iron, raw materials for industry and agriculture, as well as import and export between Gaza and the world”, he said.

Meanwhile, if Israel is adopting a more liberal approach to Gaza, this wasn’t evident on Saturday.

Haaretz reported:

German Development Aid Minister Dirk Niebel was denied entry into the Gaza Strip during his current visit to Israel, German officials said Saturday evening.

A ministry spokesman said talks had continued to the last moment with Israeli officials over Niebel’s aim to visit the Palestinian areas.

Niebel, who arrived in Israel earlier Saturday, had hoped to visit a sewage treatment plant being financed with German development aid.

Speaking on the second German TV network ZDF program”heute” (today) Saturday evening, Niebel expressed his anger about being denied entry.

“I would have wished for a clear political signal would be sent for an opening and for transparency,” said Niebel, of Germany’s liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP).

“Sometimes the Israeli government does not make it easy for its friends to explain why it behaves the way it does,” he added.

Niebel said that Israel’s latest announcement on easing the Gaza blockade was “not sufficient” and that Israel must “now deliver” on its pledge.

Beyond that, the government in Jerusalem should be “clear about how Israel, within an international context, wants to cooperate with its friends in the future as well,” the German minister said.

The United States has no fear of meeting a similar rebuff. As far as one can tell, George Mitchell has no interest in visiting Gaza.

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7 thoughts on “White House welcomes empty promise from Israel on Gaza

  1. Christopher Hoare

    One has to wonder why the US continues with the presidential charade. The intention in the 18th century was to create a constitutional elected monarchy with all the safeguards to prevent another George III debacle, but ever since the George W debacle it’s been evident that the president is little more than a figurehead.
    Under Bush the staff ran the show and now under Obama everyone with a pecuniary interest in Congress gets to run things. It’s high time that a Chancellor elected by the majority in Congress took over the reins — and had enough power over his party to throw out the crooks and bagmen.

  2. Eleonora

    The whole world is hailing Israel for easing the blockade. Hhmm, easing what exactly? They once more indulge in what they always accuse Arabs of doing: they say one thing in English and another in Hebrew. In Haaretz (http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/mess-report/mess-report-easing-of-gaza-blockade-marks-victory-for-flotilla-activists-1.296927) we could read the following:

    “Despite the contradictory statements issued by the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday, the general direction is clear. Whether the decision has already been made, as the English statement indicates, or will become official only at a later stage, as the Hebrew statement implies, Israel has folded.”

    “But perhaps the price is not so high. Israel will give up something that was unnecessary anyway: the ban on allowing food products and other goods classified as “luxuries” into Gaza. ”

    So the Palestinians in the Gaza Ghetto will in the future get pasta, pencils and writing pads – isn’t that just simply great???? Even the Nazis allowed more into the Warsaw Ghetto.

    “Israel will probably compromise on allowing building materials into the Gaza Strip, …”

    “Probably” and “compromise” in the language of the Zionists means “we will not budge on this issue”. And when push comes to shove they might let in some sand … in order to cloud the issue one more time. After all – remember: there is no humanitarian crisis according to Israeli politicians. All they do is putting the Palestinians for a while on diet.

    And the world politicians nod in agreement …

    Shame on you cowards!

  3. Norman Morley

    Christopher, sit back and watch the present group who are in charge, further destroy the fabric of what once was a great country. Perhaps if the U.S.A. imitated the Israeli system, I.E.: the I.D.F., where everybody puts in their service, than the whole of the U.S.A., would have a stake in what the Government does. Instead, we have a bunch who only think they can & do whatever the paymaster say. All the rest, are just “the little people”, the taxpayers, the ones who shoulder the load, not even being given total health care, a say in the doings of the Government, beyond disagreement, which if the P.O.T.U.S. has his way, will be taken away too. I suppose then, the “little people” will wake up, rise up, teach the powers to be a valuable lesson in how not to govern.

  4. Eleonora

    To Norman

    Not being American (and following the principle that there are no stupid … questions) I can’t follow you: what does “P.O.T.U.S. ” mean?

    “I suppose then, the “little people” will wake up, rise up, teach the powers to be a valuable lesson in how not to govern.”

    Isn’t it already too late to rise up? With all the security and surveillance measures in place it’s almost impossible – even in the USA.

    I live most of the time in the ME and the fear and scare has been meantime so deeply implanted in the minds of the people that most of them don’t even dare anymore to sign a petition to lift the siege on Gaza or to support Dr. El Baradei as the hope for Egypt to get out of the cul-de-sac – just because we know that we’re monitored and registered. But then – so what? As the saying goes: “The world is a dangerous place to live in; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

    It’s sad to see a great country disintegrate. We (at least in Switzerland) always looked up to America as an example to follow in many ways of life.

  5. Norman

    To Eleonora,
    First, P.O.T.U.S. is short for “President of the United States”. Sorry, forgot that others in the world read these too.
    Second, even with all the security measures we have here in the U.S., it’s still possible for the “Little People” to rise up. I believe the difference between where you live, somewhere in the middle east, and the U.S., is that we have a culture here that has stood from the very beginning of the U.S.A. That being, we are a country of firearms, individual thinkers, regardless of what some in the Government think or say, they do tread lightly, except for the truly questionable ones, who by giving their vote, name, help in taking away the freedoms and liberties of all the citizens with the excuse that they are protecting us, are actually traitors, not unlike what the freedom people call those that terrorize the people of countries because they don’t know any better. When either the Governments or the terrorists start killing innocent people & children, then it’s up to the rest of the citizens to overthrow them. The U.S.A. will never become that way, because though the Government & most of the Officer Corp in the Military underestimate the people & the millions of ex-military personnel, the so called “Little People” will do what is necessary to prevent it. It’s especially true today, perhaps more than ever, as the thousands of military personnel who have suffered from the exposure of War, that will join in protest, because the Military brass treat them as misfits, getting rid of them so as not to rehabilitate them, treating those that are still in service as some sort of undesirable.
    I’ve probably ranted on here, but you did ask, so, this is my take, as I’m sure that others have theirs. I should add, that my opinions are not just isolated thoughts, that there are millions who think along similar lines, though with there own view point. Norman

  6. Jo Houston

    Norman, you are lucky. It is not the innocent people and children in the U.S that are
    killed, but the unfortunate ones abroad who fall foul of American Foreign Policy. The
    ones in the many countries in which the U.S has interfered since the end of WW2.
    When will your ‘little people’ speak up for them ?

  7. Norman

    Jo Houston

    Your correct about the death & destruction left in the wake of the Military, but you can’t reject what a countries own government do to their own people, along with the so called freedom fighters, what ever their name may be. Our little people speak up for the disenfranchised all the time. But we can’t help them all. It’s an impossible task. What used to be restricted to certain countries, now is common place in just about every government, that being “Greed, Corruption”, but as with every thing today, resisting change, will do away with that too. The one hitch being, the Mad Men have the Atomic Bomb, so they may use it, instead of admitting they are wrong, thinking that Peace is excepting defeat. When the strong cease taking advantage of the weak, perhaps then, Peace will be a reality. The seeds have been sown by the Government that will take root for the change to happen in the U.S., sooner than anybody believes. The Country cannot continue operating the way it has been, even though the people in power thing so. A rude awakening is in store for those that think they can continue abusing the little people as if they are slaves. The U.S.A. has been a melting pot for the World, but today, some are trying to turn the clock backwards.

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