Israel Announces Easing Of Gaza Blockade

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Jun 17, 2010 9:15 AM
After the first flotilla incident, Israel was keen on maintaining a strong sense of pride when handling their international relations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked about Israeli resolve and the need for a strong national defense, and the long list of atrocities that have been perpetrated against the Israeli people by terrorist organizations in Gaza.

Now, it seems, he's scaling back the rhetoric a little bit. After working with American and European diplomats, they have decided to loosen the blockade of Gaza and allow certain, previously-blockaded goods into the country. The move comes after a list of Israel's blockaded goods was widely-publicized, including coriander and dried fruit.

The reason for blockading that stuff is clear: when a population is supporting a terrorist organization that slaughters your civilians, you have a right to demoralize them. But it didn't make for a whole lot of stellar PR, which is part of the reason Israel probably decided to scale things back a bit. Here's an Israeli official talking to the Washington Post:
Israel does not have a problem with civilian goods reaching the civilian population...Our problem is with Hamas and with them getting weapons, military supplies and dual-use items that could strengthen their military machine.
I'm curious to see what backing off the blockade, and the rhetoric, will do for Israel's national security. I'm also curious to see whether Israel's critics count this as a victory, or whether they see it an olive branch being extended by the Jewish state.