Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hamas strengthens siege on Gaza

You remember, so many days ago, that humanitarians were up in arms because Gazans were not able to get coriander from Israel?

Israel has been derided for its seemingly  arbitrary policies that seemed to allow certain items into Gaza while disallowing others.

Well, Israel just tried to ship a bunch of new items into Gaza, like snacks, spices (maybe even the dreaded coriander!) and sodas.

And Hamas rejected them.

As Al Arabiya reports:
Hamas said they will not let newly approved food items into the Gaza Strip as long as Israel maintains its blockade of the territory, as Arab League Chief Amr Moussa plans to visit the Strip on Sunday.

Israel slightly eased the much-criticized blockade on Wednesday by permitting snacks, spices and some other previously banned food items into Gaza.

Hamas' economy minister, Ziad al-Zaza, said on Thursday that Gaza doesn't need soda and soft drinks.
So are we going to be hearing about Hamas' siege on Gaza in the media?

Well, they didn't notice last year, so I don't think they'll notice it now.

By the way: there is no Israeli blacklist of items allowed in Gaza that includes coriander or jams. Gisha made up a list that they "deduced" from speaking to Gazans; that list was publicized by reporters and activists who thought it was too good to check. In fact, the IDF works on a day-to-day basis with various NGOs and others in Gaza to see what can make it in the upcoming shipments.  Israel does have a list of allowed items that will always be allowed in; everything else is done on a case by case basis. If UNRWA made a special request for coriander or chocolate, there is no doubt that it would be allowed in. Right now, the problem is bureaucratic and practical, not policy.