Powered by WebAds

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gaza blockade being opened, Gilad Shalit still being held hostage

In all of the misplaced outrage over the 'blockade' of Gaza, one fact seems to have been lost. The 'blockade' was intended as a measure to press for the freedom of kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit. Instead, writes Frimet Roth, those pushing for Shalit's freedom, from his family on down, have turned Shalit's captivity into an issue of price: How many terrorists will be freed and who will those terrorists be? In the meantime, the 'blockade' is about to be lifted altogether, and Shalit is no closer to freedom. After four and a half years, he hasn't had so much as a Red Cross visit.
This month, in an interview with the Associated Press, Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot – a key policy maker in relation to the Palestinian areas – unveiled upcoming stages in the termination of the blockade.

Come spring, he promised, Israel will open the gates of Gaza to textiles, furniture and agriculture as well as allowing more exports.

The interview covered various details of the new policy and the rationale behind it. Yet Dangot failed to mention Gilad Schalit even once. He made no demand for his release or even for a first Red Cross visit.

The idea that Gazans are suffering a “humanitarian crisis” has long been popular in anti-Israel circles. But as Dangot knows full well, photographs of well-stocked Gazan shops, the grand openings of a new mall and of an Olympic-sized pool have put the lie to that. Recent critiques of the blockade do not speak of a humanitarian crisis.

Instead, they hunt for ills they can pin on the blockade. A November Huffington Post piece bemoaned “creeping restrictions on women’s freedom imposed by Hamas,” and the “the erosion of women’s freedoms compounded by their lack of participation in politics.”

But the bloggers concluded that this is Israel’s fault: “The blockade... is hampering women’s efforts to... advance gender equality.”

With similarly baffling illogic, in an October 2010 Haaretz column, Amira Hass dismissed as an “apocryphal legend” the fact that the blockade was imposed in reaction to Hamas’ rise to power and to its terror attacks. “Go back and open Gaza’s gates” she urges.

THE TRUTH is that the Left is banging on open doors. Policy-makers led by Dangot are doing a fine job of eliminating the blockade – and very transparently too. They are confident the media will gloss over the news, and that the public will remain apathetic.

Why have the attempts to free Schalit failed?

The major error has been to navigate only one course toward Gilad’s freedom: haggling over the list of terrorists to be released. The blockade, even when still officially in effect and defended by our government, was never strictly enforced. Supplies were routinely allowed into Gaza. Thousands of ill Gazans and their companions were admitted to Israel for medical treatment.

And if Schalit’s own government is happy to make unilateral concessions to his captors, why should foreigners, humanitarian organizations or the UN agonize over him?

But if Dangot expected kudos for shrinking the blockade, he must be disappointed. Following his interview, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton had a litany of complaints about the matter. “Gaza remains a source of great concern for me... we think that what’s happened with Gaza is unsatisfactory,” she concluded on behalf of all EU foreign ministers.

Ashton made no reference to Gilad Schalit.

The very next day, Lynn Pascoe, chief UN political affairs official, joined the chorus. His monthly briefing to the Security Council stated that the priority of the UN is still “the rebuilding of a viable Gazan economy,” and that the process would begin with “the resumption of exports, free movement of people into and out of Gaza, the return of the Palestinian Authority to the crossing... [and] the timely entry of construction material.”

Pascoe did not utter the name Gilad Schalit.

One week later, “Dashed Hopes” made headlines.
And for Roth, the stakes are personal.
According to most sources, Hamas is refusing to free Schalit because Israel is digging in its heels over the release of 15 Palestinian prisoners. One of those is Ahlam Tamimi. She is serving 16 consecutive life sentences for her role in the 2001 terror bombing of Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant. Fifteen civilians died, eight of them children, one of them my daughter Malki.

“I’m not sorry for what I did,” Tamimi said two years ago from her cell. “We’ll become free from the occupation, and then I will be free from prison.”

The Gaza blockade is a worthy alternative to the dangerous option that Israel is pursuing. We must protest the opening of our borders with Gaza, or our children could soon face a free Tamimi again.

Can we risk that?
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like anyone is paying attention to that question.

Labels: , , , ,


At 2:10 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Don't expect Israel's dhimmi Jewish leadership to undertake any military action to bring Shalit back home - alive or dead. They'd have done it years ago, if they had the guts. For them, Palestinian comfort is more important than the freedom of a mere Jew.

What could go wrong indeed

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Well you actually forget the most important facto, also a factor that is clear for IDF and other people with knowledge of Gaza inner politics.

The blockade is and have for quite some time been a disaster for Israel, and a main source of income and political protection for Hamas.

You refeer correctly to the active merchadize in Gaza, to 80% of gods taken in by the tunnels.
Tunnels where Hamas take at least 20% "tax".
Hamas has also grown more impopular within Gaza, the blockade is the straw of excuse they have to defend their incompetent leadership, corruption etc.. problems no palestinian blame Israel for.

The truth today is. Hamas desperately needs the blockade for both financial and political reasons.
Of course they will never release Shalit due to the threat of further blockade, if you try to rob somone you don´t say "Give me your belonging or I will make you rich and safe"


Post a Comment

<< Home