Journalists and politicians tend to refer mistakenly to the ongoing siege of Gaza as a “blockade”. The word “blockade” is a rather neutral and tepid term that doesn’t indicate that such policies can be part of warfare. On the other hand, the word “siege” clearly indicates that it is part of warfare or ethnic cleansing. The courageous Israeli journalist Amira Hass recently returned from a long stay in Gaza, and she makes it abundantly clear that the Israeli policies regarding what is allowed to enter Gaza amount to a siege. Toilet paper, shampoo, building materials, window panes… these are basic necessities of life and living, yet they are barred from entering Gaza. Most houses in Gaza today don’t have window panes; they were destroyed during the Gazan Massacre in January 2009 and they haven’t been fixed. The nature of banned products also renders the usual description of the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt as used for “smuggling” as simply absurd. The tunnels are merely “siege busting” means to enable the population to survive. Furthermore, Sam Bahour, the Palestinian businessman and writer living in Ramallah comments on Amira Hass’ article:
As a prelude to this article, I should note that dear friends in Gaza are telling me that Israeli warships along the coast of Gaza are closer than ever and can be clearly seen by the naked eye, which is not usually the case. They shell warning shots all day, really creating a renewed sense of fear that round two (or is that 1,002) of the onslaught against Gaza is about to begin any day.
No headlines does not mean no war crimes.
Amira Hass writes:
Israel allows only food, medicine and detergent into the Gaza Strip. Thousands of items, including vital products for everyday activity, are forbidden.
Altogether only 30 to 40 select commercial items are now allowed into the Gaza Strip, compared to 4,000 that had been approved before the closure Israel imposed on Gaza following the abduction of Gilad Shalit, according to merchants and human rights activists.
The number of items changes according to what is determined by The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. COGAT has refused the PA representative’s request for an updated list of the items permitted into Gaza in writing, and passes the information only via the telephone.
Gaza merchants are forbidden to import canned goods, plastic sheeting, toys and books, although the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other aid organizations are permitted to bring them into the strip.
The rest of the article can be found here