Given the general tone from just about everyone out of Washington the last few days regarding the Israeli raid on the Turkish boat trying to break the Gaza blockade, this wasn’t really what I was expecting to hear:
The Obama administration considers Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area, senior American officials said Wednesday.
The officials say that Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla trying to break the siege and the resulting international condemnation create a new opportunity to push for increased engagement with the Palestinian Authority and a less harsh policy toward Gaza.
“There is no question that we need a new approach to Gaza,” said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the policy shift is still in the early stages. He was reflecting a broadly held view in the upper reaches of the administration.
The entire thing has been really screwed up. For those who haven’t been following at home, the Turkish ship says it’s just relief aid for Gazans (reports say the contents included toys, and clothes—Israel apparently was worried that it contained cement), Israel says “this is a blockade,” and then they all collide (in international waters, from what I understand, and I’m not sure what the implications of that might be), and Israeli troops set down on the ship, arriving one at a time from helicopter—which allowed for a fight to start that turned bad for everyone involved.
Now Turkey, as you may know, is a member of NATO. That was a Turkish ship, and Israeli forces boarded it (rightly or wrongly) in international waters. So Turkey has called up an emergency NATO meeting to discuss Israel, which has thus far resulted in a call for the UN and EU to have “a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation into the incident.” On the plus side for Israel, I suppose, I’m told that the EU and especially the UN are anti-Israel, and thus anything critical they have to say can simply be dismissed as such.
I leave you with a brief list from The Economist regarding what items are prohibited: