Pro-Israel hasbarists are fond of arguing that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2004 and doesn’t occupy it. This usually goes hand in hand with the argument that Hamas fighters who rocket southern Israel have no justification for doing so since Israel gave up any territorial claim in Gaza in 2004. In other words, the only possible reason for Hamas to attack Israel is to pursue its exterminationist vision of eliminating the Jewish state.
For anyone who’s ever entertained this pro-Israel argument in their own mind read this:
Israel has agreed to grant United Nations secretary general and the European Union’s foreign policy commissioner entry visas into the Gaza Strip, the first time it has acceded to such a request from international officials since Operation Cast Lead in December 2008.
The Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that the two unusual entry permits were granted to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union’s foreign policy commissioner Catherine Ashton.
“In response to the unique requested submitted by the UN chief, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and the EU Foreign Policy commissioner, Lady Catherine Ashton, Israel has decided to permit their entrance into the Gaza Strip for close inspection of humanitarian aide work,” the Ministry’s statement wrote.
If Israel doesn’t control Gaza then how do you explain the fact that it refuses to allow free access to it? Not only as august international leaders as Ban Ki Moon and others are usually denied access. Even Israeli journalists cannot cover Gaza and it is a crime for ordinary Israeli to travel there as Jeff Halper discovered when he was arrested for doing so. International peace activists have to sail ships there evading violent maneuvers of the Israeli navy.
For those of you who are a tad cynical about Israel’s motives in doing any ostensibly good deed, the MFA doesn’t disappoint on this one either:
The reason for the unusual permits is reportedly to ease the international pressure on Israel relating to blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Got that? This is yet another pure hasbara move so that Israel can turn around the next time anyone complains about how badly it is treating the Gazans and say: “but we ARE concerned, why else would we let Ban and Lady Ashton in to see the UN’s good works there.”
The next time there’s a major disaster in a Third World country like Haiti, I wish Israel would send the team to Gaza instead if it truly had any humanitarian motivation. The truth is that Israel understands the suffering of those who live far away and with whom it never has to live or deal. Those who live next door are another story.