This morning I have one of those Q-and-A thingees in the Daily News about the situation involving Israel, Gaza, and the flotilla. One reason that I wrote the piece is that I want answers myself. When I first learned on Monday of the bloodshed in the Mediterranean Sea, my initial reaction was shock and great anger over the killing of civilians. That said, I think the Obama administration and others are right here in that the world needs to know all the facts (which means that Israel needs to hurry the end of its cover-up, thank you very much) rather than rush to judgment, which is the natural human inclination.
There is one thing that's not too early to judge, however. Israel's two-year blockade of Gaza is not only barbaric but also stupid -- especially for the safety and the greater cause of Israel itself. As the New York Times noted this morning:
There is a bigger question that Israel — and the United States — must be asking: Is the blockade working? Is it weakening Hamas? Or just punishing Gaza’s 1.4 million residents — and diverting attention away from abuses by Hamas, including its shelling of Israeli cities and its refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist?
At this point, it should be clear that the blockade is unjust and against Israel’s long-term security.
After Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel — with Egypt’s help — imposed a blockade on many goods and most people going into and out of the territory. The goal was to quickly turn residents against their new government. Three years later, Hamas is still in charge — and the blockade has become an excuse for any and all of the government’s failures.
The unofficial definition of insanity is trying the same things again and again and expecting a different result. For more than a decade, BFFs the United States and Israel, sometimes joined by allies, seem convinced they can win over a civilian population by starving them or invading them or firing missiles at them from on high. Every time, from Afghanistan to Gaza, we act surprised when the civilian population rallies against America or Israel and around their corrupt government or violent anti-U.S. insurgencies, no matter how wretched that government or insurgency may be. When will we ever learn?