International Red Cross Denounces Israeli Blockade of Gaza As Violation of International Law

The respected International Committee for the Red Cross has released a statement denouncing Israel’s blockade of Gaza as a violation of international law.

The ICRC stated today that

As the ICRC has stressed repeatedly, the dire situation in Gaza cannot be resolved by providing humanitarian aid. The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is about to enter its fourth year, choking off any real possibility of economic development. Gazans continue to suffer from unemployment, poverty and warfare, while the quality of Gaza’s health care system has reached an all-time low.

The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.

It also denounced Hamas for its obstruction of efforts to see Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is about to enter his fifth year in captivity.

Part of the problem is that Israeli officials have made statements that the restriction on everything from candy to medical equipment to water systems has been in retaliation for both Shalit’s capture and the Hamas victory in the elections. That supports the claim of collective punishment and goes beyond searches for weapons.

Now, we may be seeing an even more dangerous confrontation as Iran sends ships to try to run the blockade.

Notably, Israel has just loosened restrictions on candy, spices, and shaving cream. It would have been better if those restrictions had not been in place for the outset. The strongest claim for Israel is the need to search for weapons. It has undermined its case for years through these other restrictions.

54 thoughts on “International Red Cross Denounces Israeli Blockade of Gaza As Violation of International Law

  1. Wuz zat?

    Egypt’s doin’ it too!

    Except . . .

    They aren’t killing civilians. Indiscriminately. With chemical weapons. And on the open seas.

  2. Listen, sport.

    Some of my best friends, even here, are Jewish. I recognize their right to exist and even the need for it, but statehood comes with responsibilities too. Responsibilities lined out in the other thread to which they are failing miserably. In statesmanship, failure has costs. Isolation for being a bad neighbor (and the subsequent hatred it breeds) being one of them.

  3. So come on.

    Tell us again how Egypt is to blame for Israel’s bad actions because they happened to endorse one of the many bad Israeli actions against Gaza.

    I love Jews. I think the state of Israel are warmongering fuck-pigs as demonstrated by their recent history. Much like our own government.

    But please.

    Let’s hear again how it’s not their fault people are dead. Dead people is what you get when you bring guns to a knife fight. And don’t tell me all those hours and hours of Krav Maga training and those commandos couldn’t disarm people with knives and clubs without shooting them in the head. I’ll tell you flat out that’s simply bullshit too.

  4. I am a Troll. I am Not a sport. We are not hunted like snipes. We are here and we are proud. What’s your President going to do about it? When is he going to clean up the mess in the Gulf that happened under his watch? Loser.

  5. Yes, Obama is a loser, Troll.

    But even a broke clock is right twice a day.

    Run along now. There are no children for you to eat.

  6. I am back. I have come back to life. I knew the genie in Green would bring me back to life.

  7. DJM & Buddha,

    I agree with Buddha that the fact that Egypt was also participating in the blockade doesn’t change the analysis of Israel’s culpability. That said, I’ve also noticed that some sources don’t even mention Egypt or treat Egypt very differently. One article that Jill linked from Al Jazerra I remember went out of their way to distinguish why the arguments they were making for Israel didn’t apply to Egypt. While Israel and Egypt aren’t identically situated, I do think it’s interesting that Egypt is largely forgotten about.

  8. James M.,

    I urge you to listen to the original voices of the protesters. They most certainly spoke up against the Arab states including Egypt, for not responding to their own people in general, and regarding the Palestinians in particular. Because we were inundated with Israeli/American propaganda concerning the flotilla, we did not get to hear what people were actually saying. It is incumbent upon citizens of the US to go to original sources in order to strike out from the well managed news we are fed here.

    I would also like to correct something you implied in your posting. Egypt was not being “forgotten” about. The al jazeera articles were a discussion on the ICRC’s statement about Israel. Thus it did not give an in depth analysis of Egypt in the articles, not because there isn’t any of that on al jazerra, but because it was a group of articles specifically addressing the ICRC report. I hope you will look up al jazerra’s many articles on Egypt. I think you would be surprised at the analysis as you seem to believe there is only criticism of Israel. This would not be correct.

  9. Jill,

    I didn’t mean to imply Al Jazeera was doing that in all their coverage. I was mostly referring to domestic US coverage, e.g. on the NBC Nightly News. However, after DJM alleged a disparity in treatment, the Al Jazeera example did take on a different significance in retrospect.

  10. For evidence that anti-semitism is alive and well, one need only read a recent insightful article in the NY Times, and of course, the comments section of this very website.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/06/books/06antisemtism.html?8dpc

    “In a recent book, ‘Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World’ (Yale), the historian Jeffrey Herf shows how Nazi propagandists literally taught Arab audiences the language of anti-Semitism through popular radio programs in Arabic. Nazi ideology bears many resemblances to that of contemporary Islamic extremism, some the consequence of careful teaching. That teaching is still present in the Arab world, amplified by political leaders and imams, often annexed to denigrations of Jews taken from Islamic sources.”

    “The result, [Anthony] Julius and [Robert S.] Wistrich recognize, has been one of the most historically noxious forms of anti-Semitic mythology, which has also fed into political debates in the West and cannot be overlooked or easily dismissed. It is easy enough to discern when responsible criticisms of Israel veer into something reprehensible: the structure of anti-Semitic belief is not subtle. There is a wildly exaggerated scale of condemnation, in which extremes of contempt confront a country caricatured as the world’s worst enemy of peace; such attacks (and the use of Nazi analogies) are beyond evidence and beyond pragmatic political debate or protest. Israel’s autonomy — it’s very presence — is the problem. Mr. Julius writes, ‘Israel is the only state in the world whose legitimacy is widely denied and whose destruction is publicly advocated and threatened; Israelis are the only citizens of a state whose indiscriminate murder is widely considered justifiable.'”

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