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In one of the small benefits to be derived from the recent Israeli assault upon the Gaza relief flotilla, Israeli politicians have declared they will relax certain import restrictions enforced by their long running siege of the Gaza Strip. Life is hard and you take whatever good you can, and not only has this move alleviated the suffering of the Palestinians to a degree but also it’s given the world a shining example of what hell is wrought in any society which allows the mixing of the political with the economic.

Now you’d think any relaxation of the hands about Gaza’s throat would be a welcome change for the (...ahem) gentlemen who run Hamas, but that would be asking a bit too much. Amazing but true, it seems they are a bit taken aback by the Israeli decision to open the Gaza juice market to imports, the best minds in Israel finally declaring fruit juice to be an item not fitted for military operations. And now from the sordid coupling of politics with business has birthed an abomination - in this case Hamas re-imposing the blockade in fruit juices. Yes. The one Israel just lifted. That one.

For the Palestine Food Industries Co. (PFI) (the only functioning juice maker in the Gaza Strip) sales have increased ten fold since the seige began as they have been handed a (literally) captive audience thanks to the Israeli military. Since the PFI is under the umbrella of the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF), which is a political entity controlled by Hamas (in 2006 Omar Abdel-Razeq, at the time Hamas finance minister, referred to the PIF as "our Palestinian Investment Fund"), here you have the root of the continuing blockade of Gaza in the area of fruit juices, the ultimate aim of every political creed: Other Peoples’ Money.

Israel has removed the blockade, lightening the load off the working masses of Gaza, and Hamas quickly slaps it right back on, all so they may continue to take more from the pockets of the Palestinian workers than would be possible under a free market in fruit juices. As always when it comes to political maneuverings of this kind, the politicians insist it is being done for the benefit of a beloved, mythical unicorn called The People and not to line the pockets of them and their politically connected cronies. Per Bloomberg:

"The policy of the government is to protect and maintain local products and industry and employ a large number of workers who have no job due to the seige," Ziad Zaza, the Hamas economy minister, said in an e-mailed response to questions about the restrictions on Israel goods.

Excellent logic! Irrefutable! In fact, so much so that I ask why lift the Israeli blockade at all? If the policy of restricting imports - in effect, blockading yourself – is such a wise, beneficial economic policy, why isn’t Gaza blessed with a booming economy already? So if I follow his train of thought correctly, according to Hamas official Ziad Zaza the Israelis (bless their altruist hearts!) by blockading imports have been protecting and maintaining Gaza products and industry and making sure that they’re employing a large number of workers. I suppose Amnesty International, the G8 leaders, and myself all owe the Israelis an apology. And so does Hamas, for that matter, if they too believe economic blockades, whether internally or externally imposed, are of benefit to the working masses.

Forget all the blathering of the Hamas talking heads and focus on what they’re doing – maintaining a blockade on the people they supposedly speak for in order to keep alive their sordid, politically protected monopoly in the fruit juice market. And forget all the blathering of the Ivy League "economists" who agree with Ziad Zaza’s protectionism for a moment and think about their logic. If restricting your own imports – blockading your own country – was of such economic benefit, why do we strive to do exactly that to our enemy during times of war?

So either Adam Smith was a fool or Hamas owes Israel an apology and should, by their logic, stop biting the hand that feeds them and embrace the Israeli blockade.

Originally posted to CJ Maloney on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:45 AM PDT.

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It's noon on a beautiful July 4th. I'm sitting inside at my computer, writing, AC blowin', coffee in hand. What is your reaction?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    C.J. Maloney's first book (on Arthurdale, West Virginia during the New Deal) is to be released by John Wiley and Sons in February 2011.

    by CJ Maloney on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:45:23 AM PDT

    •  Not even answering phone/texts. (0+ / 0-)

      Me time.  

      And time to rabble rouse on dKos.  A perfect day.

      Perhaps we should compare coffee suppliers.  maybe we are being fed some chemical that makes this seem like fun.

      The Palestinians are allowed to have juice?

    •  i'll say (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk

      since the seige began as they have been handed a (literally) captive audience thanks to the Israeli military.

      'they' being the israelis. the (literally) captive audience are not only the gazans but the global community who know when they give aid to gazans it feeds israeli businesses. by ruining the gazan economy w/their brutal seige they are making money hand over fist funneling israel goods into gaza all paid for by us.

      grow up israel, get your mouth off the aid teet.

      "As Israel treats Jerusalem, so shall the world treat Israel. As Jerusalem goes, so goes Israel." - B. Burston/Ha'aretz

      by zannie on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:22:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Juice in Gaza... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wabird

    Learn something new every day...

    Obama is losing John Edwards' base.

    by snout on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:48:18 AM PDT

  •  Seriously, I can never make sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greatdarkspot, wabird, Aranfell

    of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - by which I mean, it's so soaked in blood and entrenched rage that I find hardly anyone is able to discuss it without the talk turning ugly.

    The juice angle is just perplexing.

    The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

    by Cenobyte on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:52:55 AM PDT

    •  did you read the link? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk, Terra Mystica

      Gaza City-based Yazegi Group’s Pepsi factory published newspaper ads calling on Hamas not to allow rival soft drinks into Gaza, according to its director Rajab al-Ghazali. Al-Awda Factories Co., which makes cookies and ice cream and is located in Gaza City, has also sought Hamas protection from Israeli imports, said Manal Hassan, its executive director.

      there is a boycott of israeli products. the israelis uproot and destroy palestinian crops so they will be dependent on supporting settlement products therby supporting settlers who have illegally taken over palestinian land. israel's economy is  completely dependent on sucking off the teet of glbal aid to palestine. they have a monopoly on 1/2 the population under their control to but israeli products paid for by the global community because they have shut down all gazan industry.

      not so difficult to comprehend.

      "As Israel treats Jerusalem, so shall the world treat Israel. As Jerusalem goes, so goes Israel." - B. Burston/Ha'aretz

      by zannie on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:17:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, Bouwerie Boy, Johnny Nucleo

    it’s given the world a shining example of what hell is wrought in any society which allows the mixing of the political with the economic.

    and

    And now from the sordid coupling of politics with business is birthed an abomination

    Drop the Randian and neocon talking points and this diary might be good. Of course it would consist of this sentence only:

    Adam Smith was a fool

    •  I Grant, Ayn Rand would agree... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but the neo-cons are fanatical supporters of mixing politics and business. Using political power to protect whichever "businessmen" bribe them the most is par for their course. Actually, it's par for the course for every politician in DC. There's an army of lobbyists in DC for a reason. Our paychecks are for sale.

      C.J. Maloney's first book (on Arthurdale, West Virginia during the New Deal) is to be released by John Wiley and Sons in February 2011.

      by CJ Maloney on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:02:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So is this depression an abomination, too? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman

        I'm curious to know how you think we'd be better off with less government regulation.

        A glimpse into your (ahem) mind would be appreciated.

        •  I'm curious to know... (0+ / 0-)

          ...why you believe the Fed Reserve (the source of our sorrow) is not a government entity? Who else gave them the legal "right" to counterfeit all this money?

          Yes, many of the mortgage "businesses" were fools throwing away money to people who could never afford to repay. Why on EARTH, HOW on earth would any "businessman" DO such a thing? Where did they get all that easy money to play with?

          Yet we are calling for more of the same. The American people are so stripped of economic knowledge that we THANK the Fed Reserve for causing inflation.

          We are on our 4th central bank and this one - an abomination birthed by the polticians - needs to be put down, too. Until we allow all these dead banks to collapse (as they should), and they are being propped up, mind you, by the POLITICIANS, this depression will continue.

          C.J. Maloney's first book (on Arthurdale, West Virginia during the New Deal) is to be released by John Wiley and Sons in February 2011.

          by CJ Maloney on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:19:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  what a laugh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:09:40 AM PDT

  •  Does Hamas Owe Israel an Apology (0+ / 0-)

    When Hamas returns Gilad Shalit, the whole mess will be relieved! At least that is my opinion. Juice? Huh! I wish I really believed that Hamas had the interest of the Palestinian people first in their hearts - but I'm afraid nurturing their own mishagas comes first - the Palestinian people? not so much!

  •  Hamas owes the Palestinians an apology (5+ / 0-)

    for systematically terrorizing the Gazan populace, imposing sadistic Taliban-style religious insanity, and cravenly imperiling civilians as human shields for propaganda purposes. It perpetuates a no-win conflict against Israel that wins the approval of malicious dilettantes worldwide while ensuring the continued suffering of Gazans. Hamas is willing to forfeit the lives of countless Palestinians if it means being able to kill a few Jews. Not unlike those who implicitly support the genocidal anti-Semitic terrorist group, Hamas subordinates Palestinian well-being to the higher principle of attempting to reprise the Holocaust. Disingenuous protestations notwithstanding, self-styled "supporters" of the Palestinians sacrifice the Palestinians at the altar of anti-"Zionism".

    Forget about apologies to the Jews. The Palestinians are owed an apology by their allies who goad them into self-destructive behavior. Friends aggressively discourage friends from launching Kassam rockets against the fifth most powerful military in the world...but the same is not true of cynical reprobates who regard Palestinians as being expendable materiel in an eternal war against Israel.

  •  Probably (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk

    but Israel also owes the people of Palestine a big apology and more for decades of oppression and murder.

    Both sides are caught in a vicious cycle of violence.   Violence is not going to solve anything and the sooner BOTH sides learn that and commit to sincere peace talks the better

    But Im afraid that neither side really wants that.

    All Whites 1 - Italy 1

    by GlowNZ on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:26:05 AM PDT

  •  Israel owes the people of Israel an apology, for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, Eiron, crankyinNYC

    encouraging Hamas in the first place, when they wanted a different force to threaten the control of Fatah. To some degree, this is a monster for Israel that it helped birth for its own shortsighted goals, intending its political success, and then has had to watch Hamas be more successful than it had in mind, to a very high degree, having won a lot of Palestinian elections, whether the results are honored or not. Had they not tried harder to deal with Fatah, we wouldn't be looking at Hamas as it now is, which always had from the very beginning a more religious and 'moral' core than Fatah, which made it more inflexible. But this is the baby Israel chose to, did its best to, encourage. It did not have to be this way but, oh, no, Israel knew better and is now living to some degree with the stupid choices it made. And so are its people.

  •  Hamas has never cared about (4+ / 0-)

    the welfare of the Palestinian people.

    They'd rather see the Palestinian people faced with another 100 years of misery rather than have peace with any nation that has a non-Muslim majority.

    •  Hamas seems to create the illusion (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk, Terra Mystica

      that they do provide welfare services, providing schools, health care and civic order to Gaza, how do you reconcile that with your statement?  Israel seems indifferent to the social welfare of Gazans.  

      Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

      by Eiron on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:19:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How is this different from the sort of trade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terra Mystica

    protectionism which most countries practice?  Since Israel has deliberately destroyed most industry in Gaza, this simply makes sense.

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