Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Following the release of Israel’s updated policy on civilian goods entering Gaza,  “things that people are trying to bring in by flotilla you can bring in through the legitimate existing crossings, [so] do it that way” said Quartet Envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Israel is currently letting in all civilian goods enter Gaza, with the only outright banned items being weapons and explosive materials. The goal has always been to weaken Hamas but not to the detriment of the Palestinian people living in Gaza. The updated policy will come with a public, universal list of what is not allowed to fall into the hands of Hamas, which continues to mount rocket attacks at Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

The rationale behind these “flotillas” is all but erased as a result of the easing of restrictions. There has never been an outright shortage of goods and medicine for Gazans, but the perception was conveniently used as part of a wider narrative to demonize Israel.

With both Egypt and Israel easing the land blockade, the only party holding back the people of Gaza is Hamas.

In today’s editorial in the New York Times, the paper argues that this new policy “should also focus more international attention, criticism and pressure on Hamas, which continues to rocket Israeli cities and refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist…..Mr. Netanyahu has rightly refused to abandon the sea blockade of Gaza. He cannot do that until Hamas stops rocketing Israeli cities and towns.”

Said Tony Blair, “for me, the fact that Israel says, ‘Look, we’re not going to allow things into the [Gaza] seaport, but you can bring them to Ashdod, and we can check them, and then they can come on to Gaza,’ I think that is a reasonable position.”

To read more from Tony Blair’s interview with the Jerusalem Post, click here.

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