But whether or not "blockade" is the right word for Israel's actions, it's not the same thing as an occupation. America had a blockade of sorts against Iraq for a decade. Then we occupied it. If there's no difference between the blockade and the occupation, what has everyone been arguing about?
So why does Israel scrutinize Gaza's borders and ports? I'll give you a hint. It has something to do with the fact that Gaza's leadership keeps launching rockets into Israel as part of this overarching policy objective to destroy Israel.
No one will accuse me of overstating things when I say it's not a great situation. Obviously, there's a cycle of poverty and violence that fuels some of the rage toward Israel. Obviously, it's terrible that innocent Palestinians are caught in the switches. It's also terrible when innocent Israelis have Katyusha rockets raining down on them.
But who is to blame?
The answer to that familiar question usually depends on whether you see Israel as a normal country with the right to exist and protect its citizens, or as an interloper victimizing Palestinians who are justified in their rage. I fall into the camp that says Israel should be allowed to do what any other country should be allowed to do to protect itself. I will get e-mail from people who disagree.
But there's a third camp. These are people who believe that both things are simultaneously true. They believe that, sure, Israel has a right to exist, but that Israel also has an obligation to make the Palestinians whole and happy.
It's a nice thought, and it has its merits. After all, the Palestinians have had the worst leadership imaginable for generations, they are used as props by neighboring countries, and Israel has not always treated Palestinians fairly. So, yes, of course it would be nice if they could be made happy.
But is it possible? The answer, at least for the foreseeable future, is "no." The desires of the Palestinian people and the demands of their leaders are ultimately incompatible with any kind of accommodation with Israel. Until the intruder stops trying to kill the homeowner, it’s crazy to talk about them becoming roommates. I If that amounts to blaming the victim, then I blame the victim.