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EU Diplomat Addresses Gaza's Humanitarian Situation

donsutherland1

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Today, The Jerusalem Post reported:

Six months after the international community was aghast to learn that coriander was on a list of items not allowed into the Gaza Strip, the shops there – according to EU diplomat Christian Berger – are now full of consumer goods. The problem, he said, is that few people have the money to buy them…

Berger said, however, that in order for people to be able to buy the goods there needed to be vast improvements in the economy that could only come about if there were greater freedom of movement of people in and out of Gaza, and if exports were facilitated. Currently, he said, the only goods allowed for export were flowers and strawberries to the Netherlands.


Unlike the hysterical, exaggerated, and one-sided politicized rhetoric of some officials e.g., the departing Richard Falk, Mr. Berger provides another example of a more constructive approach to addressing problems where they might exist. Rather than claiming that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in the Gaza Strip—a claim that would be without foundation—or making knee-jerk demands for Israel to eliminate its maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip (a policy intended to serve Israel’s security needs), Mr. Berger focused on details where problems exist.

Given their substantive and constructive nature, the points raised by Mr. Berger can offer an area for discussion aimed at refining the blockade so as to serve the combination of strengthening Israel’s security, addressing humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, and limiting Hamas’ ability to use the changes to strengthen its regime and influence. Although trade-offs would be necessary e.g., complete freedom of movement is not possible given the continuing terrorist threat from Hamas and allied terrorist organizations, focused discussion might lead to additional changes in product mix and expanded opportunities for private sector economic development.
 

Demon of Light

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Rather than claiming that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in the Gaza Strip—a claim that would be without foundation—
That depends on whether you think most of the population languishing in poverty with many also unable to rebuild their homes that were destroyed in war and essentially no capacity for school construction counts as a humanitarian catastrophe. Kind of ironic that Israel insists it needs to keep building in settlements that should have never existed in the first place yet somehow imposing far worse conditions on the people of Gaza is perfectly kosher.

or making knee-jerk demands for Israel to eliminate its maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip (a policy intended to serve Israel’s security needs), Mr. Berger focused on details where problems exist.
The maritime blockade strangles the economy. A thriving port, even if all that was carried there was humanitarian aid, would do a great deal towards alleviating the conditions of many in Gaza. Israel, however, rejects the idea that it should allow ships into Gaza even after they have been inspected and found to contain no items for military use.

There also must be accommodations made for people to be able to be on their own land or in their own waters without being fired on by Israeli forces.
 

Mika-El

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That depends on whether you think most of the population languishing in poverty with many also unable to

1-The maritime blockade strangles the economy.

2- Israel, however, rejects the idea that it should allow ships into Gaza even after they have been inspected and found to contain no items for military use.

3-There also must be accommodations made for people to be able to be on their own land or in their own waters without being fired on by Israeli forces.
In regards to 1, I believe your rhetoric fails to properly identify the cause and effect of economic malaise in Gaza. When Hamas openly denounced terrorism and violence, the State of Israel worked with charities in Gaza funding projects that built roads, greenhouses, schools, community centres, homes, government buildings and Gaza citizens were allowed to enter Israel to work.

It was Hamas not Israel that then chose to blow up with dynamite any thing the Israelis helped build and then went on a campaign to kill identified cooperators with Israel and today continues to threaten any Gaza citizen who states they want to have peace with Israel.

It is Hamas and Intifadah's decision to continue a war to extinguish Israel that forces Israel's hand and the security measures they have invoked. If Hamas was non violent and did not advocate terrorism, Israel would not be required to place the security measures it does which I am the first to concede indirectly negatively impact on Gaza's economy. However I would content the reason for Israel's having to do what it does is because of the terrorist policies of Hamas and there is proof positive that when Hamas does not advocate using its citizens as pawns in a terror war and insist on attacking Israel, their economy was able to do just fine.

In regards to 2, I would like to see your proof for that. I am under the impression Israel delays shipments going into Gaza to check for weapons and items that could be used by terrorists to engage in terrorist acts but sends on humanitarian goods into Gaza. So I would like to see your proof that they are refusing to allow shipments to go into Gaza that are not security risks. I do concede in the past there were delays with such inspections and there were sometimes difficulties in understanding why certain items were intercepted and declared potentially dangerous.

In regards to 3, I would agree that in the past Gaza fishermen have been caught because of the sea patrols and security risks. The Israeli navy can not always tell a harmless fishing boat from a bunch of terrorists trying to get into Israel.

Whether the Israeli navy can do more to avoid unintentionally impacting negatively on Gaza fishermen is a subject I am sure is capable of being discussed and is like the current inspections of incoming goods, something reasonable people would assume can be improved where possible.

I agree innocent Gaza citizens suffer and are impacted negatively by Israeli policies yes but unlike you I think the Israeli policies do not simply occur in a vacum but are caused by its being forced to implement security measures to protect itself from Hamas' ongoing decision to choose terrorism over peaceful coexistence.
 
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