Rewarding the Irish ?

Yoram Getzler

When the part played by the Irish government in the peaceful resolution to the latest attempted blockade run becomes clear, perhaps it may be appropriate in co-opt them to the process of easing and changing the terms of the Gaza blockade.

Over the years we have had offers from many governments to facilitate elements of the “peace process” between the Arab world and ourselves. For some reason it seems to be a high prestige foreign assignment for many governments. The Turks were the last government who insisted on their ability and appropriateness for this honorable task. Brazil, Russia, South Africa also have volunteered to this honorable position.

As it seems the Irish, government or individuals were responsible for the non-confrontational non-violent nature of the latest blockade event then surely they “deserve” our thanks. Why not add what apparently is considered an international honor of being the official “go-between” “honest broker” between Israel and Hamas for determining the next phase of our engagement with Gaza.

The events of the Gaza sea blockade challenges have been such that any intelligent serous government should realize that a continuation of blockade as usual is no longer a viable or intelligent option. At the same time the dangers of allowing uncontrolled and open access to Gaza for any and all would be importers, from Iran to Brazil is also unthinkable.

So I would propose; a continued blockade of Gaza from un inspected sea traffic. In exchange for agreeing to that the land crossings would be greatly liberalized. All foodstuffs would be allowed entry. Building materials with potential strategic value would be allowed entrance with appropriate international supervision and accounting. Such that schools medical facilities and private homes could be re-constructed.

It is well known and obvious that the Gaza / Sinai tunnels have achieved the ability to transfer almost anything into Gaza. The sight of vehicles driving, however slowly, underground from Sinai to Gaza as we saw on Israeli TV several months ago makes it clear that there are few limitations on the import of just about anything into Gaza.

What makes this even more counterproductive is that Hamas, as owners of the tunnels is a financial benefactor of this import system.

This is not accomplishing the goal of the Israeli policy, which is to weaken Hamas, but serves to further strengthen is position as the power controlling the import of every contraband item.

Israel should also immediately imitate and allow the shipment of all needed medical supplies into Gaza. Along with that children and young people requiring specialized medical attention outside of the strip should immediately be given permit ion to travel.

Special arrangements for students seeking specialized (non-threatening) educational opportunities should also be initiated.

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