Juan Cole writes: 1. The Israeli blockade on Gaza exports and non-military imports must be lifted altogether. Ben White points out that the restrictions on goods brought into Gaza via Israel are still very substantial, despite Israeli assertions that the blockade has been eased.
And, the blockade on exports is almost complete, with some minor exceptions, and is devastating to the Gaza economy. Real per capita income among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is less today than in the early 1990s!
These Israeli policies are a form of collective punishment imposed by an Occupying power on a noncombatant occupied population. Israel also imposes restrictions on Palestinian travel outside the Strip (even, sometimes, unconscionable delays for patients seeking specialist medical care– delays that lead to their deaths). Collective punishment, obstacles to free movement as part of an Apartheid regime, and occasional Israeli attacks that show blatant disregard for civilian life are not only illegal in international law but constitute a set of systematic war crimes that rise to the level of crimes against humanity as defined by the Rome Statutes.
While it is unfortunate that small homemade rockets are sometimes fired by small militant groups from Gaza into Israel, it is impossible to expect social peace from a people being economically strangled. [Continue reading…]