By Juan Cole
One problem with the focus the Israeli raid on the Gaza aid flotilla is that it may make it appear that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is the central issue. Then any Israeli loosening of the blockade would seem to be an advance.
In fact, the blockade is not the problem but is rather a symptom of the underlying issue, which is Palestinian statelessness. Gazans have no state. What the Israelis deign to call the ‘Hamas regime’ is no such thing because it lacks sovereignty, over its borders, air, sea, imports and exports. (The idea that Israel is ‘at war’ with its own occupied territory is laughable.) The Israeli ‘withdrawal’ of 2005 simply removed a few thousand colonists and withdrew troops, usually, to the borders. But it did not allow the creation of a sovereign state. Gazans are excluded from a third of their own farmland by Israeli restrictions on where people can live. That so many Gazans are unemployed, that their industries have collapsed, that they are food insecure, and that malnutrition is causing stunting in 10% of children– all these outrages derive from their lack of a sovereign state to look out for their interests.
The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a report this weekend detailing the harm to Gazan children and civilians of the blockade. Most do not even have clean water to drink.
Aljazeera English also reports on the impact of the blockade on Gaza’s children: