Israel is officially relaxing its blockade of Gaza, with certain provisions and restrictions of course. All supplies must only enter the Gaza strip by land, and members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will check to make sure no weapons or materials that can aid combat will be able to enter. As far as construction material being allowed into Gaza, it is being considered. What can come through that wasn’t able to before? Foodstuffs and household items such as jam, pasta, and milk. I hope that includes apple jam, whole wheat pasta, and vanilla rice milk. Yum.
One worry Israeli’s still have is if countries like Iran and Lebanon will still refuse to have the goods enter through Ashdod. And I do wonder, why the refusal?
The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, feels that “easing” the blockade is illogical, and the blockade should be lifted entirely.
Olga Ghazaryan, a worker of Oxfam (one of my favorite non-profit organizations coincidentally) was quoted in saying, “The announcement is a welcome step but it still appears to be a baby step, not the breakthrough people in Gaza hoped for.”
Here is where it gets pretty interesting. “The knotty political issue here is that the US, Britain and the EU all insist they want to end an “unacceptable and unsustainable” blockade but share Israel’s goal of seeking to weaken Hamas, which has more or less maintained a de facto ceasefire since last year’s war. It still holds the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit” (The Guardian – a UK newspaper).
I then pose the question. What happens when Israel lifts the blockade and Hamas may start to use nuclear weapons? Will all of these people who are referring to Israel negatively right now turn their opinion around and realize Israel was controlling the Gaza strip to protect themselves? To protect their lives? To not be entirely wiped out again?
On lighter news, I received my packet from my program and I am SO excited to begin. While this has been a great summer, not a day goes by that I don’t feel the excitement and anticipation of the time when I will have just boarded the plane to Ben Gurion airport.
All of these nervous and excited feelings have led me to reflect a lot about my past trip to Israel through Oranim, Taglit-Birthright. I had an absolutely fantastic experience and met some great people. One girl I became (and still am) particularly close with and I wanted to share this picture of us laughing together at the top of Masada. What a great day that was, sharing a laugh with a new friend as the sun was rising on top of this historical mountain fortress.