Why International Law Can’t Resolve the Legality of the Gaza Blockade

by Julian Ku

I want to take a moment to salute Kevin for his post on the legality of the Gaza blockade, which has drawn a record 94 comments and thousands of page views. Talk about fostering discussion and debate!

Kevin has put his finger on the key legal issue: the legality of the blockade.  While the question of whether excessive force was used is also central, the facts are too murky to figure this question out, and we may never figure this out.  But the facts on the blockade are fairly settled.  And, as Eric Posner points out in today’s WSJ, it is the law here is a bit murky but could certainly be read to support Israel’s position.  Most importantly, I think he is right to argue that there is no clear international law rule here for either side.

Longstanding customary international law permits states to enforce publicly announced blockades on the high seas. The Gaza blockade was known to all, and certainly to those who launched the ships for the very purpose of breaking it. The real question is whether the Israeli blockade is lawful. Blockades certainly are during times of war or armed conflict. The U.S.-led coalition imposed a blockade on Iraq during the first Gulf War.

The catch here is the meaning of “armed conflict.” Traditionally, armed conflict can take place only between sovereign states. If Gaza were clearly a sovereign state, then Israel would be at war with Gaza and the blockade would be lawful. If, however, Gaza were just a part of Israel, Israel would have the right to control its borders— but not by intercepting foreign ships outside its 12-mile territorial sea or contiguous zone.

Gaza is not a sovereign state (although it has its own government, controlled by Hamas) and is not a part of Israel or of any other state. Its status is ambiguous, and so too is the nature of the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas. Thus there is no clear answer to the question whether the blockade is lawful.

However, the traditional idea of armed conflict involving only sovereign states has long given way to a looser definition that includes some conflicts between states and nonstate actors. The international rules governing blockades attempt to balance belligerents’ interest in security and other countries’ economic interests in shipping. During war, security interests prevail.

http://opiniojuris.org/2010/06/04/why-international-law-cant-resolve-the-legality-of-the-gaza-blockade/

23 Responses

  1. I’m confused here.

    Kevin Jon Heller’s post, as I (a layman) understood it discussed whether Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal under the conditions of international armed conflict (IAC)or non-international armed conflict (NIAC). It was an enlightening post, but the facts seem only relevant over whether the blockade WAS possibly legal when first enforced.

    But, how about NOW?

    Two articles (by international law professors Ben Saul and Michael Byers) have recently pointed out that ever since two UN investigations over the civilian impact of the blockade, it is very likely (perhaps without question) that the Israeli blockade is illegal under international law.

    So why can’t international law solve this case as the post title suggests?

    Haven’t the findings of collective punishment rendered the discussion over IAC, NIAC, or Gaza’s “ambigous’ status (as Eric Posner put it) less important in comparison?

  2. Response..

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    Amnesty International maintains that Israel is still the occupying power in Gaza.
     
     
    As an occupying power, Israel would also have the power to control border crossings.
    .

  3. If we agree that Israel is an occupying power, maybe in the context of the flotilla its might be beneficial for them to adopt this position. However they walk into the problem of having to retain responsibility for the welfare of Gaza’s civilian population. Also Under IHL, a belligerent occupant would have obligations to the provision of food and other supplies.

    This clearly is not happening, alluding to the minute aid that is allowed in for 80% of the population in Gaza is of no avail.

    The process of the degredation of Israels legitimacy, morality and sanity has been gathering momentum since its inception.

    Scepticism serves as a reality check as to whether Israels impunity will be challenged.  I find myself hoping for real pressure from international states not just passionate rhetoric. Acknowleding that this hope is in blissful ignorance of the magnanamus track record of Israels flagrant disregard for international law.

  4. Zak, if Israel were an occupying power with responsibility for the welfare of the civilian population, it would have the power to determine where the 1million tons of aid per man, woman and child transferred to Gaza over the last 18 months went.

    As it stands, the Hamas government of Gaza is responsible for distributing that aid.  It’s there.  It’s just not getting to the right people.  If Israel were occupying they would a)be occupying – i.e. actually be there(duh) and b)have the responsibilities that the Hamas government has taken.

  5. Correction for above – 1 ton of aid per man, woman and child.

    Apologies for the slip.

  6. Does it make any difference that over 100 States have reckognised the statehood of Palestine? What difference does it make weather Gaza is part of a State or not? Do the reasons for the blockade and its manner have any relevance?

  7. Brian, although I think you have missed the point, I contest that Gaza is in fact occupied. Professor Ian Scobbie provides a helpful concise article with a few reasons why, although by no means an exhaustive account of the arguments for.

    http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR26/FMR2608.pdf

    I am very interested in seeing a credible source for claims that 1.2 million tonnes of aid is being stolen and concealed by Hamas. For evidence that the aid simply is not getting there a rudimentary examination of the worlds major human rights organisations, the UN, and the world save Israel will suffice.

  8. Zak, no-one is claiming that NO aid gets through, so clearly not all the aid that’s being sidelined.  There is no need to find a credible source for all of the aid being stolen and misused, only some.

    The UNWRA is not known for it’s pro-Israeli stance – and reported Hamas police confiscating aid that was supposed to be for civilians.   http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL4273371._CH_.2400
    We also know that the concrete that has been used to cast mortars that fly across to Sderot did not go into building schools and hospitals.

    Also of interest for where the supplies go, is this article:

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/05/25/fancy-restaurants-and-olympic-size-pools-what-the-media-won’t-report-about-gaza/#ixzz0p0XIKArN
     

  9. Just to clarify – When I wrote:”There is no need to find a credible source for all of the aid being stolen and misused, only some.” I meant no need to find a source for all million tons of aid being stolen and misused, as no-one is suggesting that none of it gets to the civilians.  Hope that makes sense.

  10. Hi Brian I appreciate the links but think they fall short of substantiating your claim.

    I didnt demand a source which accounted for every single tonne per man child and woman, but simply something which affirms that that much aid is actually making it in to the Gaza strip and that Hamas is stealing atleast most of it for there to be reports emerging from major human rights groups the UN and the rest of the world. Its the first time i’ve heard this claim that so much aid is being let in, and am questioning whether you’re seriously maintain this position.

    The article about the aid, even if granted as true doesnt legitimise the collective punishment of a population of 1.5 million, beacuse Hamas stole a couple of hundred blankets on one occasion. 

    The main point I wanted to make intitially was that of shifting statements emerging from israel and the adoption of convenient stances. for example; mark regev affirming after the al fakhura incident that

    “If you take over – I presume with guns – a UN facility. If you hold the people there as hostages, you shoot out of that facility at Israeli soldiers in the neighbourhood, then you receive incoming fire – I think that’s a war crime under international law.”

    subsequent findings confirm (and  if you care to read the israeli government publications on this matter you will find they agree) that the nothing took place within the school, no fire emerged from the school and neither was fire returned to the school but was some distance away from the school. another example from Operation Cast Lead is that of the use of white phosphorus, initial claims were of outright denial, then a ‘we use lawful weapons’ without explicit confirmation, to admission & defence to reprimanding two senior military officers
    see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7010851.ece

    see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6150448.ece

    The insincerity of the Israeli government and the fact that they have been documented as being incredibly dishonest can only but damage their character.

    The people of Gaza are resorting to building houses of clay bricks, pledges of millions of euros have been made to reconstruct Gaza. But this cannot happen with the blockade, its as simple as that. Arbritary articles and speculative evidence cannot be the basis of this kind of mistreatment.

    Israel really seems to have become its worst enemy, on the back of the flotilla attack one can imagine the reaction of the pro israeli spinning machines in the media and representatives of the government, having to justify their conduct in the face of condemnation from the United States in the words of Hilary Clinton ‘unsustainable and unacceptable’ Israel finds itself increasingly isolated.

    My intention was not to get engaged in a debate or argument, no reasonable person would deny the fact that rocket attacks no matter how futile from Gaza must stop at the same time one cannot deny the terrible effect that the blockade is having on the people of Gaza. One cannot deny the disproportionate force which Israel uses in conducting its operations. The process of dehumanization of the Palestinians to legitimise the suferring the illegality and the injustice is appauling.

  11. Zak, the people of Gaza are in the middle of an armed conflict brought on by their elected government.  There are bound to be long delays in reconstruction during war, especially if the raw products are being used for weapons.

    Even if Hamas doesn’t confiscate most of the aid, if they confiscate any out of enough, that leaves less than enough.

    As you wrote, the rocket attacks must stop.  Gaza was left with an enviable agricultural infrastructure which the Gazans chose to destroy.  There was no problem with getting aid through before the newly elected Hamas government “rewarded” Israel’s complete withdrawal with rocket fire.  The borders will ease if the violence from Gaza stops.

    In terms of humanitarian crisis, have a look at the stats:

    Projected life expectancy in the Gaza Strip (2010) is 73.86, greater than Estonia, Malaysia, Jamaica and Bulgaria.
    The infant mortality rate in Gaza is 17.71 per 1000, lower than that of China, Jordan, Lebanon and Thailand.
    Fertility rates are about five children per family, equal to many African nations such as Rwanda and Senegal.

    If the humanitarian crisis is so great, why not bring in more from Egypt? – this isn’t all about Israel.

    If the humanitarian crisis is so great, why is Hamas not letting in the aid from the flotilla?

    If Hamas does not see the humanitarian crisis as great enough to stop its violence, how is Israel supposed to see it as great enough to risk more of it?

    I’m not a spokesperson for Israel, but at the end of the day if Israel is finding itself increasingly isolated for exercising its rights to self-defense, better to be isolated than obliterated as per the Hamas Charter.

  12. I would like to see a serious reply to Zak’s question, which addresses an issue that was raised several times, but never really answered, on an earlier thread.  It seems clear that Israel is blocking the entry of goods into Gaza that have no military use, including a range of food items, as well as blocking the bulk of potential Gazan exports.  I have yet to see a plausible explanation for these actions other than deliberate collective punishment of Palestinian non-combatants, an interpretation that is supported by a number of statements by Israeli officials over the past months.  If true, this is a war crime and a clear violation of international law.  It is irrelevant, so far as I can see, that the intended collective punishment appears to be reducing the Gazans to basic subsistence levels, without actually starving them.  In this scenario, the blockade of Gaza is a means to carry out an ongoing war crime, and, while I have only the most rudimentary knowledge of the applicable law, I find it hard to credit that this has no bearing on the blockade’s legality.  Is the argument that a blockade with any legitimate purpose is legal regardless of its other, illegal functions?  Would this still apply if Israel were blocking all food in order to starve the Gazans out?  What if Israel were committing genocide, say by carpet bombing, and were using the blockade to prevent access by reporters or other outside interference?  My strong feelings on this issue are, no doubt, coloring my language, but my question regarding the law is quite sincere, and I would greatly value any serious response.

  13. Here is some credible legal analysis for you Aaron.

    The following excerpts from Justus Reid Weiner (JD) and Avi Bell (B.A., J.D., University of Chicago; S.J.D., Harvard University) – International Law and the fighting in Gaza (2008)
    “…Yet there is nothing in international law that requires
    Israel to maintain open borders with a hostile territory, whatever its sovereign status….

    …The use of economic and other non-military sanctions
    as a means of disciplining other international actors for their misbehavior is a practice known as “retorsion.” It is generally acknowledged that any country may engage in
    retorsion….

    …The bar on collective punishment forbids the imposition of criminal-type penalties on individuals or groups on the basis of another’s guilt, or the commission of acts that would otherwise violate the rules of distinction and/or proportionality.  None of Israel’s actions involve the
    imposition of criminal-type penalties or the violation of the rules of distinction and proportionality. ….Indeed, many of the critics calling Israel’s withdrawal of economic aid “collective punishment” call, or have called, for the imposition of economic sanctions or the withdrawal of economic aid against Israel and other countries or, at least, claim to have “no position on [the legality of] punitive
    economic sanctions and boycotts.”….”

    I have seen that Professor Bell has posted on this site on another thread, and if we’re lucky he’ll join in here too.

  14. Thank you, Brian, this is helpful.  I’ve never seen the use of “collective punishment” opposed on technical grounds in this case, although I have wondered about the parallel to economic sanctions.  I’ll need to look into the issue further.

  15. Aaron, I’m glad you found that helpful.

    When someone erroneously states that Israel is breaking international law with “collective punishment”, then the legal definition (technical grounds) of the charge is of utmost importance.

    In everyday life, for example, “punishment” can range from standing in the naughty corner to capital punishment.  So bandying the term about needs to be put in context.

    Israel makes sure that enough aid gets through for humanitarian purposes.  2,000 tons a week get through the Israel/Gaza border, in 2009  over 4,800 tons of medical equipment and medicines went in, over 10,000 Gazan patients and their companions were brought to Israel for treatment, etc. etc.

    At an airport, we may be able to expect getting everything through apart from weapons or materials that can be weaponised.  I don’t think the border to an enemy territory needs to be as generous as that.

    If you are still worried about a more general issue of making Gazans life less pleasant on a collective basis, you may feel that is not nice, but it is not illegal.

  16. If Israel is an occupier, then it wouldn’t really be a blockade, would it?

    Israel has benefitted for a while on the nebulous status of gaza and the west bank. they claim that gaza isn’t occupied, as being an occupier makes them primarily responsible for the welfare of the civilian population. they claim that gaza isn’t a state, as international armed conflict brings all manner of laws into place as well, especially when it comes to prisoners.

    as i argued in the other thread, this never really was a blockade anyways up until now. israel’s navy has been controlling gaza’s waters since 1994 by agreement. but going into int’l waters changed things.

    as it stands, the article posted still doesn’t get to the actual legality of the blockade, rather whether or not israel is within their right to implement a blockade over gaza. the blockade itself is legal or not based on findings of fact such as proper notification of time, extent (what’s allowed and what isn’t), and impact on the civilian population.

  17. As an occupying power, Israel would also have the power to control border crossings.


    indeed. as an occupying power (which the UN claims), israel would also have the power to inspect any ships crossing into gaza’s territorial waters. that itself wouldn’t constitute a ‘blockade’, as israel would be the de facto authority over gaza’s land, sea, ports, crossings and civilian population in that case. israel can’t rightfully blockade itself.

    if israel isn’t an occupier (as israel claims), then either one of two things is going on:

    1) israel is asserting it’s security presence within gaza’s territorial waters according to the gaza-jericho agreement in which case israel’s navy also has the right to stop and inspect any ships within gaza’s territorial waters, or

    2) israel is asserting a blockade against gaza, which opens questions as to
    a) whether israel even has that right in general given the status of gaza as not a sovereign nation as well as the actual nature of the conflict between the two (israel unilaterally withdrew a year and a half ago concurrent with a full ceasefire and there was no declaration of war), and
    b) whether israel actually legally declared a blockade in accordance with international law, including a specific assertion as to the time and extent of the blockade e.g. a list of what they’re allowing through.

    in case 1) israel clearly overstepped its bounds in boarding ships in international waters because there was no actual blockade. in case 2) israel clearly overstepped its bounds in boarding ships in international waters if it can be shown that the blockade wasn’t legal at the time.

    personally, i think the issue is ripe for consideration. a determination of the actual status of gaza under int’l law is long overdue.

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    Brian, I’m not sure where this is really going and my guess is nowhere considering that I can’t see agreement on any front.
    Gaza was left with an enviable agricultural infrastructure which the Gazans chose to destroy.  There was no problem with getting aid through before the newly elected Hamas government “rewarded” Israel’s complete withdrawal with rocket fire.
    Im not sure what your referring to when you say that the Gazan’s destroyed their agricultural infrastructure. Presumably you’re not suggesting that they literally did it themselves but brought it upon themselves………..?
    Almost 13,000 families who dependant on agriculture in gaza found their farms either damaged or completely destroyed during operation cast lead according to the United Nationhttp://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/9960/icode/
    Your source of information for the claim that Israel has increased aid to Gaza comes from the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs, a more mendacious and less reliable source of information is hard to imagine.
    In contrast, I am not relying upon Hamas or palestinian sources, but trusted third party organisations like the UN, Oxfam, WHO, Amnesty, HRW, BTselem etc
    And by the same reasoning what urgent threat are the Israelis under according to the article below they have one of the highest life exp in the world.
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/who-life-expectancy-in-israel-among-highest-in-the-world-1.276618
    I think when we talk about humanitarian crisis we’re talking about electricity, water, industry, agriculture, the things that are largely controlled by Israel and not projected life expectancy.
    See http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKADD44092920070514
    According to UN statistics, around 70 percent of Gazans live on less than $1 a day, 75 percent rely on food aid and 60 percent have no daily access to water. A UN report last year said that on average it took 85 days to get shelter kits into Gaza, 68 days to deliver health and pediatric hygiene kits, and 39 days for household items such as bedding and kitchen utensils.
    A UN fact-finding mission described the blockade as “collective punishment”, illegal in international law!
    The borders will ease if the violence from Gaza stops.
    The Palestinians tell the US that they are not to start peace talks until settlement expansion stops, The US insists that settlements expansion stops and i’m sure that I won’t meet any opposition in stating that the consensus of the world at large (save Israel) strongly rebuke the expansion of settlements. There won’t be peace until a lot of things change, things cannot continue the way they have been particularly in the last five years on both sides. I hope the objective all of us atleast is peace but I can’t say with a shred of confidence that peace is the objective of Netanyahu et al.
    If the humanitarian crisis is so great, why not bring in more from Egypt? – this isn’t all about Israel.
    Strange attempt to deflect responsibility from Israel
    If the humanitarian crisis is so great, why is Hamas not letting in the aid from the flotilla?
    Well if you elaborated on the story or did some more research you would find that they didn’t let the aid in because the delivery of the aid was seen as a media campaign to divert attention from the flotilla incident and whilst the world was watching Israel attempt to play ‘the nice guys’. Other condition for letting the aid in was that all of the detainees on the flotilla be released which as far as I know is almost complete and that the building materials held back be allowed through.
    I’m not a spokesperson for Israel, but at the end of the day if Israel is finding itself increasingly isolated for exercising its rights to self-defense, better to be isolated than obliterated as per the Hamas Charter.
    Below you’ll find a link to a list of prominent lawyers and international scholars who maintain otherwise. As i keep repeating popular opinion no longer resides with Israel and the world is increasingly seeing over the course of the yeras an extensive campaign of aggression. If you believe that the whole world is in error in terms of its judgement of the facts save Israel and that the whole world does not share the enlightened insight into international law relevant to the topic save Israelis and some Americans, then regrettably I’m not sure there is much room for agreement.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5488380.ece
    It seems that after presenting the examples above that we have now arrived at the point in the argument and adopted the course that most discussions take after being unable to deal head on with Israeli dishonesty and deflecting attention to Hamas. The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. Israel has the right to act in self-defence but its response to the pin-pricks of rocket attacks is completely disproportionate. The casualty figures speak for themselves.
    Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip has created a situation in which this territory is dependent on the supply of various necessities by Israel, take as one example the supply of electricity dates back to June 2006, when the Israeli Air Force destroyed all six transformers at the GPP during an air strike. http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_gaza_fact_sheet_07_05_2010_english.pdf

    I don’t believe i have to elaborate on the dire conditions in Gaza I will say again that a rudimentary examination of the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or any other human rights organisation who operate in that area you’ll find that there is a humanitarian crisis. If you have been there you’ll soon come to learn that the Palestinians are far from swirling cocktails in the reception room of a hotel bar or taking a dips in lavish new swimming pools as one might be lead to believe from the ‘evidence’(i use that term generously) that you presented previously.

    The declared aim of the war is to weaken Hamas, the political and economic reasons for the blockade or siege are underplayed and again we see an abuse of sighting Israeli conduct as self defence.

    Israel’s actions would more accurately be described as acts of aggression contrary to the purposes and principles of international law rather than that of self defence. This oft repeated attempt to justify aggression as self defence is getting rather tedious.
    I’m sure you are not a spokesperson for Israel, they have managed to condition many very good apologist. I think it was the Joseph Gabbels who said ‘think of the press as a keyboard on which the government can play’ Israel have been playing the same song for years and the world is finally getting sick of it!
    Can i request sources when statistics are quoted please and i would appreciate if you could deal with the points i made. Uncritically repeating Israeli claims aren’t going to help to persuade someone who can be bothered to do a bit of research.

  19. I would just like to add that I understand that this is a legal forum but I cant help but feel that getting incredibly duped in to pure technicalities on points of law are of avail here.

    Even if loopholes are found, law is manipulated and bent out of shape to justify Israeli conduct LEGALLY this does not make it morally justifiable. Ultimately international law is a playing ground, law can be interpreted to serves ones own purpose.

    The UN  disagrees with Israel and they are dismissed, their jurisdiction is refused and they are demonised to the point of discrediting anything they say against Israel. I’m sure that this will not be the case with sanctions against the Iranians, then we will witness the full efficiency of international law.

    The US says anything and they are ignored but they’re satisfied with the apparent state of unrequited love that they find themselves in with Israel.

    Anybody else in the self aclaimed civilised world says anything which might taint Israels reputation and they’re are accused of double standards.

    I feel myself ranting now…. so I shall retire

    Peace

  20. well, it’s a legal forum, innit? most discussions on the internet about israeli policy end up as hyperbolic scenarios of israel’s destruction, accusations of anti-semitism or anti-arabism or isreal-hating or genocidal-this or ethnic-cleansing-that or whatever else.

    it’s refreshing to see discussion relegated primarily to the application of law, rather than emotional outbursts.

  21. Agreed charles but with the futility of international law my point is that Israel clutches to an excessively liberal reading of text which their conduct so regularly engages.

    Ultimately they refuse to co-operate with anybody who dares question their conduct. So one cannot remain satisfied with a purely legal discussion which looses relevance because it ignores the reality of the world that we live in. If its intellectual acrobatics you’re interested in then thats fine but as you stated its being relegated to this  and  infer that you see it as more than a purely legal matter.

  22. charles-Presumably you’re not suggesting that they literally did it [destroying infrasructure] themselves

    Brian – Sure I am.  I guess they didn’t want to have any legacy from the Zionist occupation.  Maybe having the ability to be self-sufficient interfered with their PR branding as victims. Any references?, you ask.
    from pravda -According to reports, the greenhouses were looted by gunmen following Israel’s withdrawal. Computer equipment and, in some cases, entire greenhouses were stolen. The theft has put out of action about 70 acres of the roughly 1,000 acres left by the Jewish communities, according to Al-Masri.

    “The looters took their time to dismantle the greenhouses and to uproot entire greenhouses and carry them away,” Amid al-Masri previously told reporters.

    “Another round of looting struck the greenhouses in February when Fatah gunmen hired to protect the greenhouses abandoned their posts because they had not been paid. Witnesses reported some of the security guards themselves participated in the looting.”


    Why didn’t you hear about it at the time?  Maybe for the same reasons Reuters photo editors doctor out things that don’t suit their narrative.


    c-described the blockade as “collective punishment”, illegal in international law.

    b- for the one who finds it “refreshing” to discuss the law, you have a great way of misdefining it.
    causing economic difficulty to a civilian population is called “retorsion”.  Just like economic sanctions against Israel would be.

    c- they claim that gaza isn’t occupied, as being an occupier makes them primarily responsible for the welfare of the civilian population.

    b-Hamas has taken the role of being primarily responsible for the civilian population, to expect it of Israel would involve actually letting an Israeli governing/administration into Gaza.  Hamas can’t claim that Israel is responsible while denying the opportunity.  It’s a bit like someone murders his parents and then looks for mercy because he’s an orphan.

    c-the blockade itself is legal or not based on findings of fact such as proper notification of time, extent (what’s allowed and what isn’t),

    b-”Just hours after the start of Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening, the IDF spokesperson announced a formal naval blockade of Gaza.” American Chronicle, Jan 4 2009.

    I don’t have a lot more details of what was in the formal announcement.  However, the announcement was known by all mariners, including countries hostile to Israel, NGO’s and definitely every organisation who was against the blockade.  While all the other arguments against the blockade may have some murkiness to them, a technical illegality of not having all the necessary information would be a slam dunk.  So if the anti-blockade lawyers didn’t mention it before now, I’m going to assume that it’s not an issue until shown otherwise.

    c-a determination of the actual status of gaza under int’l law is long overdue.

    b-I agree.  Personally, I would like to see them declare statehood.

    b-If the humanitarian crisis is so great, why is Hamas not letting in the aid from the flotilla? c-Well if you elaborated on the story or did some more research you would find that they didn’t let the aid in because the delivery of the aid was seen as a media campaign to divert attention from the flotilla incident and whilst the world was watching Israel attempt to play ‘the nice guys’.

    b- And now we get to the crux of it!  Thanks for this admission.  More important that Israel doesn’t look good in the media than to get the aid to “starving” Gazans.   Aid was delayed by Hamas because PR was more important than civilians.

    And of course, that’s what this whole flotilla was about – generating PR, not delivering aid.

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