The blockade on Gaza began long before Hamas came to power

Mya Guarnieri writes:

The second Freedom Flotilla is slated to set sail by the end of the month in an attempt to challenge the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. The act will call attention to the closure that the United Nations and human rights organizations have decried as a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the collective punishment of civilians.

According to the Israeli government — and most of the mainstream media — the blockade began in 2007, following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. The aim of this “economic warfare” was to weaken Hamas, a group that the Israeli government had once supported. Israel also sought to stop rocket fire and to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held in Gaza since 2006.

Four years on, none of these goals have been achieved.

Israel has achieved a minor victory on one front, however. Even critics use 2007 as the start-date of the blockade, unintentionally legitimizing Israel’s cause-and-effect explanation that pegs the closure to political events.

But the blockade did not begin in 2007, following the Hamas takeover of the Strip. Nor did it start in 2006, with Israel’s economic sanctions against Gaza. The hermetic closure of Gaza is the culmination of a process that began twenty years ago.

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