Flotilla Attack the Deadly Symptom of a Failed Policy
"The incident is an indictment of a much broader policy toward Gaza for which Israel does not bear sole responsibility. For years, many in the international community have been complicit in a policy that aimed at isolating Gaza in the hope of weakening Hamas. This policy is morally appalling and politically self-defeating. It has harmed the people of Gaza without loosening Hamas's control. Yet it has persisted regardless of evident failure.
'The flotilla assault is but a symptom of an approach that has been implicitly endorsed by many”, says Robert Malley, Director of Crisis Group’s Middle East Program. “It is yet another stark illustration of the belated need for a comprehensive change in policy toward Gaza.'
International condemnation and calls for an inquiry will come easily, but many who will issue them must acknowledge their own role in the deplorable treatment of Gaza that formed the backdrop to today’s events. The policy of isolating Gaza, seeking to turn its population against Hamas, and endorsing a "West Bank first" approach was not an exclusively Israeli one. To focus on this recent tragedy alone is to miss the much wider and more important political lessons. The policy toward Gaza is in need of thorough re-examination. The US, EU and Quartet as a whole have been calling for relaxing the siege on Gaza. That is welcome, but opening the humanitarian tap is not an appropriate answer to a policy whose fundamental premise is morally callous and politically counter-productive. Instead, Gaza should be open to normal commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring."
“Today, we have witnessed the sad outgrowth of a failed and dangerous policy”, says Louise Arbour, Crisis Group President. “One hopes it can provide an opportunity for a long-overdue course correction.”
The above is a media release from the International Crisis Group an organisation that I have always find extremely even-handed in its analysis of foreign affairs. There are certain "fashionable" conflicts in the world, the Middle East is one, which many people get upset about, while ignoring injustices of the same magnitude elsewhere. How many non Tamils, for example, get closely involved in campaigning for their rights in Sri Lanka? The International Crisis Group provides expert briefings on all conflicts, even the foprgotten ones in say, Chad or the Cote d'ivoire. Experts working for the ICG produce detailed, readable backgrounders for journalists, researchers and other interested parties. Its conclusions carry particular clout because ICG is never partisan. Its only political objective is conflict resolution. So the crisis group's comments on the flotilla attack are significant. This is not a group that questions Israel's right to exist - like some of the protesters around the world in recent days. It examines the facts dispassionately and looks for solutions. That is why these comments on the international community's culpability in the isolation of Gaza are so significant.
ADD Pleased to read in The Scotman that Hassan Ghani is safe. The journalist was filming the incident and his material can be viewed at the Viva Palestina website. Hassan was Young Scottish Muslim of the Year in 2008 and received his award from First Minister Alex Salmond. Hassan was also received a 4talent award from Channel Four that year and his own website is here