AMY GOODMAN: Max Blumenthal, can you explain what you found fishy about this clip? Also, the IDF’s retraction and your thoughts on that? Also, you managed to get an earlier apology from the IDF last week regarding a press release they sent out two days after the assault claiming that approximately forty flotilla passengers, quote, "are mercenaries belonging to the Al Qaeda terror organization." When you questioned the Israeli military press office, you didn’t get the evidence you asked for, but press release was modified. The original headline was changed from "Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found to be Al Qaeda Mercenaries" to read, quote, "Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found Without Identification Papers." Explain what’s happened in these cases, the doctored audio and the press release.
Susan L. Rosenbluth
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
The Jewish Voice and Opinion
Englewood, NJ 07631
June 18, 2010
Dear Susan L. Rosenbluth:
Thank you for your article “The ‘Armada of Hate’ Had Only One Goal: Force Israel to End Its Legal Blockade So Gaza Can Get Weapons,” June 2010, Vol 23 No 8.
I found your article confusing because you seem to indicate that it’s appropriate for Israel to impose a blockade on Gaza because the territory is controlled by Hamas. But at the same time you cite statistics to seem to indicate that there is no humanitarian crisis raised by the blockade because a sufficient amount of trucks with supplies arrive in Gaza each day.
However, according to Oxfam, the number of trucks of relief items allowed in to Gaza was just 22 percent of what it was before the blockade was tightened in 2007.
According to a recent report of the Gisha organization for freedom, Israel today [before Israel’s 6.18.10 announcement] allows 97 items to be brought into Gaza, compared to 4,000 before the siege. The same report noted that a large Israeli supermarket holds 10,000-15,000 items.
In addition, the Red Cross said more than 100 essential medicines and many basic medical supplies are no longer available in Gaza due to the blockade. A new report by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem says the blockade has led to economic collapse in Gaza: 95 percent of Gaza’s factories have closed, 98 percent of residents suffer from blackouts, and 93 percent of Gaza’s water is polluted.
Also, I understand that there is extensive damage to Gaza’s sewage system. According to Oxfam, damage to the sewage system results in 28 Olympic swimming pools of raw sewage pumped into the sea of Gaza every day, leading to what experts fear is blanket nitrate poisoning of the population.
It’s difficult to understand how the justice of Israeli control over Gaza is reflected in such conditions.
As far as whether the blockade is legal according to international law, the International Committee of the Red Cross declared, "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."