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Old 06-10-2010, 01:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Israel lifts ban on SOME foods for Gaza

Israel lifts ban on some foods for Gaza
By STEVEN GUTKIN (AP) 7 hours ago

JERUSALEM Israel took a first step Wednesday to temper the uproar caused by its deadly high-seas raid on a blockade-busting flotilla by allowing in potato chips, cookies, spices and other previously banned food items into the Gaza Strip.

But the things Gazans need most cement, steel and other materials to rebuild their war-ravaged territory are still mostly banned, and critics denounced the move as insignificant. President Barack Obama called for a new approach on the blockade.

Instead of easing international criticism of Israel following the May 31 raid that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists, Wednesday's decision appeared to focus even more attention on its three-year-old blockade of impoverished Gaza and the seemingly arbitrary decision-making about which goods are allowed in.

After meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, Obama said the Mideast situation is "unsustainable." He called the flotilla clash a "tragedy" and said a "better approach" is needed in Gaza. He called for a "new conceptual framework" for Israel's blockade.

Maxwel Gaylard, the U.N.'s senior humanitarian official in the Palestinian territories, said Israel's move was insufficient.

"A modest expansion of the restrictive list of goods allowed into Gaza falls well short of what is needed. We need a fundamental change and an opening of crossings for commercial goods."

Israel and Egypt have been enforcing an embargo on Gaza, banning all exports and allowing in only basic humanitarian and consumer items, since the territory was violently overrun by Hamas militants in 2007. The blockade has created a flourishing smuggling trade through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border but has done little to loosen Hamas' hold on power.

Facing growing international criticism over its botched raid and the painful price Gaza's 1.5 million residents are paying for the blockade, Israel has been attempting to show some flexibility.

Palestinian official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of goods into Gaza with Israel, said soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted. He said Israel rebuffed Palestinian requests for construction goods, raw materials for factories to operate and medical devices.

Israeli officials
, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal policymaking, said their goal in allowing more goods into Gaza was to defuse pressure for an international investigation of the sea raid. The clashes broke out after Israeli naval commandos boarded one of six ships on the flotilla carrying goods for Gaza, and some of the hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on board attacked them with pipes and other makeshift weapons.

Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the two countries are discussing ways to involve the international community in the probe. He said Israelis would lead the investigation of the events aboard the flotilla.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said his country is committed to ensuring that "the civilian population of Gaza will receive civilian goods," but Israel is concerned that items like cement "if given to Hamas will be used first and foremost for their military machine in creating bunkers and fortifications."

A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said Israel's gesture was not worth commenting on.

The flotilla confrontation has left Israel scrambling to salvage its international standing, already battered by harsh criticism of the scope of destruction in Gaza from its invasion in late 2008 to stop years of rocket fire from Gaza.

Gaza has been mired in poverty for decades, but the closure deepened the misery, erasing tens of thousands of jobs and preventing repair of damage from the Israeli offensive.

Western diplomats said Wednesday that some European nations have proposed reviving an arrangement on the Gaza-Egypt border that included EU observers monitoring the crossing. The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because no decision has been made, said the proposal would be discussed at an EU meeting on Monday in Luxembourg.

They acknowledged the setup in place before Hamas' 2007 takeover of Gaza would be difficult to restore. The reason: opening the crossing would have to include delicate security arrangements that Israel would be unlikely to accept as long as Hamas remains in control of Gaza. Israel's reluctance to lift the embargo is shared privately by many officials in the Western-backed Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Israel has rejected calls for an international investigation into its May 31 raid, fearing it would be biased. Instead, officials are considering an Israeli-run inquiry that includes international observers. Israel has been seeking U.S. support for this approach, but so far has not been able to reach a formula.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an economic conference Wednesday that Israel will mount its own investigation.

"We know the truth," he said.

Associated Press writer Diaa Hadid contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


So this article clearly proves that foodstuffs and medical equipment were being blocked from getting in, and now the only reason the food is allowed is so that it will take the heat of of Israel as its own ambassador just admitted, and this is suppose to show commitment to getting civilian materials to the civilian population of Gaza? While still not allowing medical equipment in? Bullshit.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i think it's also designed to undermine hamas, which won't be succesful until such time as gaza is opened up(prisons are notoriously reactionary)
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The thing that is being brought out into the open is the absurdity of israel banning this shit in the first place. What POSSIBLE reason could there be for banning potato chips? We can't have people snacking for christ sakes, they might think they're humans.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i just think its pretty funny how u are so worried about whether gazans have potato chips but u dont seem to care if southern israelis have to live under fear of kindergardens comming under rocket fire. thats some human treatment, but oh no dont take away their crisps!
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by John F. Kerry View Post
i just think its pretty funny how u are so worried about whether gazans have potato chips but u dont seem to care if southern israelis have to live under fear of kindergardens comming under rocket fire. thats some human treatment, but oh no dont take away their crisps!
Of course it only stands to reason that I must not care about israeli children if I can't understand why potato chips are banned on the Gaza strip.
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