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WikiLeaks document on Gaza blockade puts Israel’s flotilla hasbara to shame
As the second “Freedom Flotilla” to Gaza attempts to overcome the various obstacles in its way, the Israeli security establishment is busy trying to confuse people about the economic situation in Gaza. There’s just one big problem with their strategy: a cable written by a U.S. diplomat about the Gaza blockade makes any Israeli propaganda claim about the Gaza Strip moot.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently said that the flotilla of ships set to sail to break the Israeli naval blockade was unnecessary because “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Similarly, Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz told a group of Israeli reservists that Palestinians in Gaza are “importing televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to the entire Arab world.”
The message, in so many words, is that life in Gaza is just fine, and that there is no need for flotillas to challenge the Israeli blockade.
But this State Department cable, published by WikiLeaks and written in October 2008 from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, should put the kibosh on Israel’s claims about the economic situation in Gaza (my emphasis):
What the cable reports–that Israel is deliberately keeping Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse”–is exactly why the “Freedom Flotilla” is seeking to break Israel’s blockade.
It hasn’t gotten any better since that cable was written. This June 2011 report from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency details the human cost of the Israeli siege on Gaza:
Those facts–Gaza’s dire unemployment and Israel’s deliberate strategy to keep it that way–are why Israel will have to keep facing flotilla after flotilla until the blockade of Gaza is no more.