Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Right to Impose Collective Punishment

Collective punishment has a new name the "right of economic warfare" according to an article from McClatchy:

Israel imposed severe restrictions on Gaza in June 2007, after Hamas won elections and took control of the coastal enclave after winning elections there the previous year, and the government has long said that the aim of the blockade is to stem the flow of weapons to militants in Gaza.

Last week, after Israeli commandos killed nine volunteers on a Turkish-organized Gaza aid flotilla, Israel again said its aim was to stop the flow of terrorist arms into Gaza.

However, in response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, the Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of economic warfare.

"A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using 'economic warfare,'" the government said.

The US State Department off the record said it didn't have anything to say. After three years of this:

Israel's blockade of Gaza includes a complex and ever-changing list of goods that are allowed in. Items such as cement or metal are barred because they can be used for military purposes, Israeli officials say.

According to figures published by Gisha in coordination with the United Nations, Israel allows in 25 percent of the goods it had permitted into Gaza before the Hamas takeover. In the years prior to the closure, Israel allowed an average of 10,400 trucks to enter Gaza with goods each month. Israel now allows approximately 2,500 trucks a month.

The figures show that Israel also has limited the goods allowed to enter Gaza to 40 types of items, while before June 2007 approximately 4,000 types of goods were listed as entering Gaza.

However, President Obama, eighteen months after taking office, says the situation is "unsustainable." So, everything is fine then.

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