After Gaza flotilla raid, Israel close to easing Gaza blockade
An Israeli cabinet meeting on easing the Gaza blockade broke up without a decision today. But it appears the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla raid is forcing Israel to dramatically alter its approach to the Hamas-run enclave.
The Israeli cabinet ended a meeting to discuss abandoning a three-year-old economic blockade of the Gaza Strip without a decision on Wednesday, deferring action until tomorrow even as most signs point to a significant easing of Israeli restrictions on imports of foodstuffs and construction materials into the impoverished Hamas-run territory.
Israel's looming about face on a policy that is popular with its citizens appears to be a response to the Jewish state's diplomatic isolation since an Israeli commando raid left nine Turkish citizens dead on a flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Diplomatic prodding from Israeli allies appears to be shifting a policy which few Israelis questioned publicly even in the initial days after the May 31 shooting of the pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza flotilla.
"It's especially the pressure of those who are considered to be our friends, like the US,'' says Avraham Diskin, a political science professor at Hebrew University. "The [blockade] rules were not logical or coherent… People continued with the rules of the game that seemed to work, but now everything was reopened because the flotilla was a catalyst. It doesn't look too good, I agree.''
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