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UK INDEPENDENT: Gaza blockade: kettle calls pot black

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  • Simon mcguinness
    The US delegation which toured Gaza is composed of political leaders who can on the one hand be outraged by Israel banning medical devices from entering Gaza
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2009
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      The US delegation which toured Gaza is composed of political leaders who can
      on the one hand be outraged by Israel banning medical devices from entering
      Gaza whilst at the same time vote in favour of the exact same measure in
      relation to the blockade of Cuba. Perhaps they would prefer Israel to adopt
      the US anti-Cuban legislation in total and change the word "Cuba" for the
      words "West Bank and Gaza" and see how the US like it. Meanwhile, in the
      real world, the other 200-odd countries of the world are outraged by BOTH
      the US and Israel for their blockades of Cuba and Palestine respectively. -


      The pasta, paper and hearing aids that could threaten Israeli security

      By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor

      UK INDEPENDENT, Monday, 2 March 2009

      Members of the highest-ranking American delegation to tour Gaza were shocked
      to discover that the Israeli blockade against the Hamas-ruled territory
      included such food staples as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.

      "When have lentil bombs been going off lately? Is someone going to kill you
      with a piece of macaroni?" asked Congressman Brian Laird. It was only after
      Senator John Kerry, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
      raised the issue with Defence Minister Ehud Barak after their trip last
      month that Israel allowed the pasta in. Macaroni was considered a luxury
      item, not a humanitarian necessity, they were told. The total number of
      products blacklisted by Israel remains a mystery for UN officials and the
      relief agencies which face long delays in bringing in supplies. For security
      reasons such items as cement and steel rods are banned as they could be used
      by Hamas to build bunkers or the rockets used to target Israeli civilians.
      Hearing aids have been banned in case the mercury in their batteries could
      be used to produce chemical weapons.

      Yet since the end of the war in January, according to non-government
      organisations, five truckloads of school notebooks were turned back at the
      crossing at Kerem Shalom where goods are subject to a $1,000 (£700) per
      truck "handling fee".

      Paper to print new textbooks for Palestinian schools was stopped, as were
      freezer appliances, generators and water pumps, cooking gas and chickpeas.
      And the French government was incensed when an entire water purification
      system was denied entry. Christopher Gunness, the spokesman for the UN
      agency UNRWA responsible for Palestinian refugees, said: "One of the big
      problems is that the 'banned list' is a moving target so we discover things
      are banned on a 'case by case', 'day by day' basis."

      Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said: "Israel's blockade
      policy can be summed up in one word and it is punishment, not security."
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