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    The Cuban Blockade has succeeded in insuring that Cubans cannot import any modern U.S. cars, but it has not stopped the Cuban people from reducing infant mortality and other health-related issues.  The Cuban medical treatment, of what appears to have been an advanced stage of prostate cancer in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, can only enhance the reputation of Cuban oncologists.  Thus, while economic blockades may retard the importation of material goods, they rarely interrupt a society which is intent on investing in its people.
     From all outward appearances and from its insistence on ending the Israeli economic blockade of its ports and border crossings, Hamas is also seeking to advance the economic well-being of the Gazan people. Just as President Obama has stated that no country would tolerate its people being under constant rocket attack, the international community has recognized that an economic blockade is an act of war which seeks to starve the economic vitality of a country.
     Thus, just as Israel has a fundamental right to be free of rocket attacks on its people, Hamas has a fundamental right to be free of the economic blockade imposed on it by Israel and Egypt.  If the Israelis lift the economic blockade of Gaza, and if Hamas fails to stop the firing of rockets into Israel, then no one would quibble with a heavy-handed quashing of any rocket fire into Israel from Gaza.  But, for now, give Middle East peace a chance by lifting the economic blockade of Gaza!      

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Comment Preferences

  •  Borders and blockades are two different things. (4+ / 0-)

    Israel has total discretion to keep its border w/ Gaza closed, but should lift the blockade, at least until such time that they can determine that lifting the blockade results in more rocket attacks.

    •  In the words of John Lennon, just give peace a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster, jan4insight


    •  And, for the 193rd time, is the blockade barring (4+ / 0-)

      medicine, food, construction supplies, water purification systems and the like, which is what it does in practice, and, oh yes, shooting fishermen working on Gaza's coastline, keeping missiles out? Judging from the number fired in the last week, that particular missile blockade is a complete failure.

       The problem with your argument is that although the alleged purpose of the blockade is to keep missiles out, it is plainly not doing that but is strangling the civilian economy and endangering the health of all Gazan residents. The plan to get by abuse the cooperation of Gazans in ejecting whoever Israel does not like this week (remember, Jabari whose death triggered this round was the Israeli subcontractor for control over and dealings with factions of the opposition who did not belong to or heed Hamas and had been so for some time, until he became, apparently nolonger useful enough to Israel) is plainly not working either and there is no indication that more abuse will change the result.

      •  That's why I'd support a test period. (0+ / 0-)

        If you're right that it's not having an impact on the ability of Gazans to put together more rockets, then strikes shouldn't materially increase.

      •  Priorities (0+ / 0-)

        It's hard to escape the idea that if numerous huge missiles can be smuggled into Gaza, it would be possible to smuggle in sufficient quantities of non-military supplies to sustain life and rebuild what has been destroyed.  Hamas controls what passes through the tunnels, and they have made their choices.

        The blockade doesn't keep the missiles out, but the missiles don't achieve any result except to bring down countervailing force.  The people of Gaza would be better off with more food, medicine and construction supplies instead.

        •  How would you like to live in a state where (0+ / 0-)

          everything but a list of 118 or so items, as it was with Israel's list a year ago, had to be smuggled in. That was the case, and although there have been claims of loosening from this very short list, one of the loosenings was two trucks of date bars sent to WB. Before then cinnamon was allowed in by the Israelis but cumin was not, no construction materials as they could be used to build military facilities, the water purification, electrical generation and other plants offered by Europe to Gaza not permitted in although Israel itself sells water and electricity to  Gaza, and the like. This blockade and how it works is not a secret. And smuggling has its own social and other costs, and should not be necessary for food, medical supplies and the like, but is because all but the 118 as sort of expanded are stopped at the border by Israel, which also works to make the Rafah border run under the same rules. It should not be that way, but Israel as a government makes sure it is.

          •  You are missing the point (0+ / 0-)

            Of course trying to live under these conditions sucks. But what does one do under the circumstances? Hamas has the ability to control what is smuggled in and its choices are to incite Israeli attack by bringing in offensive weapons instead of bringing in as much food, medicine and construction materials as possible. It may be emotionally satisfying but it confirms the image of Hamas as terrorists, alienating potential support in the international community, and it fails to address the most immediate needs of the suffering residents of Gaza.

            •  If you NEED to believe that Hamas controls all and (0+ / 0-)

              acts only as terrorists, you may see it that way, but the sunglasses you use are yours, not that of the facts on the ground.

              The reporting has made clear that as to matters missile, Hamas tries for control over other factions, but does not yet have it, and the factions who are apparently doing most of the shooting are doing so in no small part in opposition to Hamas as being not militant enough.  Today's NYT reporting also makes clear that a high percentage of what was shot from Gaza was aimed at empty ground, the symbolism and power but without the same kind of intentional firing on places were civilians are that Israel planned and executed. But you need for your own reasons to have Hamas control all, so you claim it does. You need them to be terrorists so you can ignore the actual effects of what Israeli government is doing.

              And to defend the blockade, you have to show something, which I invite you to try, that is to show why the best remedy for Israel's missile issues, if those really were their issues at all, is limiting food, medical supplies, water purification adn electrical generators, constructions materials, etc etc etc. The cinnamon and cumin issue is on you to justify, as is the flat out governmental statement that they calculated exactly how many calories of food per Gazan got in so they would be hungry but not starving exactly. How is that the best remedy, least harmful to civilians.

              Today's reporting in NYT raises other questions about the purpose of the Israeli assasination and attack in any event, pointing out that they were using it to tune up for a subsequent run at Iran, seeing if Iron Dome worked well, not particularly at all as a response to what happened BEFORE Israel attacked and assasinated Jabari. And the FM is in the paper stating flat out that one of the things they will have to do is flat out invade to change the government in Gaza no matter what the people of Gaza think, just as he has advocated the same for WB, becauset the leaders do not serve the purposes of Israel.

              •  Still missing the point (0+ / 0-)

                I am addressing what is smuggled through the tunnels into Gaza, not what is fired out of Gaza. Are the tunnels being used as much as possible to relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza (and, yes, of course, it should not be necessary but that is the reality).

                When 20-foot-long missiles are brought through the tunnels in pieces and reassembled in Gaza, Hamas knows about it and condones it. I have not seen any suggestion that Hamas does not have substantial control over what comes through the tunnels.  And my point is that Hamas can set priorities over what the tunnels are used for, and evidently missile components are using time, space and energy that could be used for all the life sustaining and life improving items you mention.

                Thank you for reiterating all the things that are wrong with the blockade and all the criticisms that can be made about Israel's policies and motives.  I did not address them, and your ad hominem approach to addressing me is inappropriate. I chose to question Hamas policy in an area that is clearly under their control - the use of the tunnels - under the circumstances that actually exist.  The rightness or wrongness or those circumstances is a separate topic amply discussed here.  The fact is that as the leadership of Gaza, Hamas has a responsibility to the people suffering there, and it has not chosen to maximize the amount of food, medicine, etc. that it is within its control to deliver to them.

  •  The problem with the blockade (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    originaloldpro, jan4insight

    is that it actually hurts Israel.  Hamas has only gained power because they have been willing to stand up against the Israeli blockade/occupation.  Desperate people will turn to anyone who will fight on their behalf.

    •  Wouldn't it be ironic if the Israelis lifted the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      economic blockade of Gaza, and the Gazans and the Israelis wound up being trading partners?

      •  They already are, involuntarily, as in many cases (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        originaloldpro, happymisanthropy

        the Israelis are the ONLY ones with whom Gazan trade is permitted, on Israeli terms, of course. What lifting the blockade would do is allow actual commercial competition from others elsewhere and lose Israel a closed, controlled market it already has and abuses.

        •  I was under the impression that the Israelis (0+ / 0-)

          have insisted that they have the right to inspect whatever goods or services enter Gaza.  I was not under the impression that Israel is forcing the Gazans to buy its goods and services exclusively from the Israelis.  If the latter is correct, then that is the equivalent of the company store from which workers are required to buy at the company's inflated prices, and no one in the United States would put up with that kind of economic coercion for a single moment.  The American support for Israel would vanish in a New York second if it got out that Israel is operating a company-store-type operation in Gaza.

      •  At one time (0+ / 0-)

        between 1967 and the first intifada, the economies of Gaza and Israel became closely linked. It was, economically, probably the best period in Gaza's modern history.  If the parties could get past their mutual mistrust, it could happen agaiin.

  •  I imagine that the stock Israeli response to that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mll, originaloldpro, Greek Tragedy

    would be that one, missle crisis and Marco Rubio notwithstanding, Cuba has never been a threat to or attacked the US, and that lifting the blockade would allow arms to flow into Gaza much more powerful and accurate than the ones used against it in this latest round of attacks, that would be used to kill many Israelis eventually. Not saying that I agree or disagree with this, just that it's likely to be the Israeli response. In any case, I doubt that Israel will lift the blockade outside of any serious negotiation process, and both sides seem unwilling to go there right now, primarly for internal political reasons.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:23:56 AM PST

    •  I believe that the real negotiations will take (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      place if the truce holds for 72 hours.  Those "real" negotiations should include the lifting of that blockade.  Better than anyone, the Israelis should understand the cry of the Gazans which is essentially "Let my people go."

      •  Any real negotiations would have to include (0+ / 0-)

        lifting the blockade. In exchange for that, Israel is all but certain to ask for verifiable inspections of all goods going in/out of Gaza by whatever means, recognition of itself and its right to exist, a total renunciation of the use of violence against its people, land and interests at home and abroad, and the promise of crackdowns on errant factions not willing to respect such a treaty. In exchange for which Hamas is likely to demand a complete military and civilitan withdrawal from the West Bank, recognition of Jerusalem as its capital, and so on.

        Needless to say, this isn't going to happen within the next few weeks. We're talking major mideast summit of the sort that happens every 10-20 years.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:37:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Speaking of Cuba (0+ / 0-)

      Does anybody remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? That tells us how the US would respond to the mere existence of potentially hostile missiles near our borders.

  •  I think (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    originaloldpro, FG

    "Hamas has a fundamental right to be free of the economic blockade imposed on it by Israel and Egypt" should read the Palestinians have a fundamental right to be free of the economic blockade imposed on it by Israel and Egypt. I make that distinction because I support the people independent of the government.  

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:48:43 AM PST

  •  Israel promises to quit shooting fish in a barrel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    just another vet

    As long as the fish promise to stay in the barrel and starve.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:22:54 PM PST

  •  A single, democratic state (0+ / 0-)

    is the only long term solution although this has long been an option almost no one wants to consider. When all those who live within the borders of Israel have an equal right to vote and to seek redress in the courts ,as we do in the United States and other democracies, then peace will become inevitable.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 01:00:25 PM PST

  •  Hamas is still the problem (0+ / 0-)

    Ending the blockade is probably the only reasonable course to get onto a path for solving the problem, but this would be instantly declared as Israel surrendering to Hamas.  It's not politically feasible as long as Hamas is in power and as long as they continue to call for the destruction of Israel.

    I don't actually think Hamas wants a lasting peace.  If there's peace then they can't destroy Israel.  If there's peace then it's hard for them to justify their own existence and their own power in Gaza.  This is why before every Israeli election now they start lobbing rockets and people support the Israeli hardliners more, ensuring perpetual war.

    Israel has shown to some extent that it can work with Palestinians.  Look at the West Bank today.  Not exactly perfect, but remakably better than Gaza.  Just think how things might be better today if the PLO had defeated Hamas in the battle to control Gaza.

    But Hamas did win and now a there's a chicken and egg situation where you have chicken who does everything it can to make sure no egg is ever laid, and a farmer who is happy to deny the chicken the nutrients to be healthy and produce eggs.  It's a mess and I see no realistic path to resolution without doing something draconian to one side or the other.

    •  One addendum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There is one path: stop the external support to Hamas and let them be overthrown by less radical elements in Gaza.  Groups that might be willing to co-exist peacefully with Israel if the blockade was lifted.  But for that to happen, Syria and Iran need to fall first.

      •  The problem is that as long as there is a blockade (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        there will be no less radical groups in Gaza with any semblance of power.

        •  There appears to be the outline of a peace (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          agreement between Hamas and Israel.  In the past few days, Khaled Meshaal has repeated Hamas' longstanding offer of peace based on the 1967 borders of Israel and Palestine.  Implicit in that statement is Hamas' recognition of Israel within the 1967 borders, but the problem is that many in Israel will not accept a return to the 1967 borders.  Is there any possibility that the Israeli settlement areas outside the 1967 borders can be listed as belonging to neither Israel nor Hamas, and instead placed under the aegis of the UN under a governing document, based on equal rights, which will be drawn up by Israel and Hamas?

          •  The real problem is Jerusalem. 1967 borders mean (0+ / 0-)

            that a significant part of Jerusalem will be Palestinian. No Israeli government will accept that. As for the settlements, there has been a proposal involving trading the areas covered by big settlements for other parts of Israeli territory. There is also a refugee issue.
            It will still be a very difficult (and maybe impossible) sell in both Israel and Palestine but the outline of a possible future deal has been know for at least a decade. The problem is getting there.

      •  Wouldn't such a policy, of stopping Hamas' support (0+ / 0-)

        violate the right of self-determination in Gaza?  And why bother with Syria, which is engaged in a civil war, and won't a peace agreement with Iran be possible if an initial accord is reached with Hamas?

  •  "How about, NO." (0+ / 0-)

    Hamas's track record shows without any doubt that the moment the blockade is lifted they will obtain armaments and prepare for an all out war, in which thousands upon thousands of Israeli and Palestinian civilians will die.

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