Saturday, November 22, 2008

LA Times cannot read a map

From AFP:
Egypt's northern Sinai is running low on fuel supplies because of the amount of smuggling across the border to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, Egyptian officials said on Saturday.

"Smuggling to Gaza through tunnels has led to a drastic reduction in fuel supplies at petrol stations" in the northern Sinai, said Mohammed Hussein, a senior official of the Sinai governorate.

Other local officials said work with agricultural equipment was having to cease because of the shortage of fuel.

Other parts of the Sinai are also being affected as trucks from the north loaded with jerry cans ferry fuel supplies to the north, according to workers at petrol stations.

The authorities in northern Sinai have over the past month imposed a ban on the sale of fuel in jerry cans except for agricultural purposes, and ordered all petrol stations to close overnight.

Almost 170,000 litres (about 40,000 gallons) of fuel being readied for shipment to Gaza on the black market was seized last week, officials said.

But why aren't human rights organizations and left-wing newspapers blaming Egypt for confiscating fuel that is meant for those poor, poor Gazans? No, only Israel has the responsibility for feeding and clothing and fueling Gaza, according to such august authorities as the Los Angeles Times:
In the 2 1/2 weeks since its cease-fire with Hamas broke down, Israel has all but sealed crossings along its border with the Gaza Strip and rejected U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's appeal to allow more humanitarian aid into the enclosed territory that houses more than 1.5 million Palestinians. This response to violence directed against it amounts to collective punishment of civilians, which is illegal under international law, unfair and counterproductive. Hunger and scarcity nurture extremism.

The last comment is a cliche that's been proven false numerous times.

Beyond that, the LAT is conflating two issues. Israel is under no legal obligation to help its enemies. If the UN would try to follow the Free Gaza model and bring goods in from overseas, the worst that Israel would do is stop the ships and check them for weapons or other materials that could be used to hurt Israeli civilians. If the UNRWA would try to bring goods in from Egypt, Israel wouldn't say a word. So when Israel stops goods from crossing through its own territory, it is not engaging in collective punishment - it is exercising its own autonomy, something that the LAT doesn't seem to recognize.
... As the military power surrounding Gaza, Israel has a duty to ensure that civilians receive sufficient food, fuel and medicine.
The LA Times needs to look at a map again and see if Gaza is surrounded by Israel.