Israel’s New Humanitarianism

Neve Gordon

Blog –
, June 17, 2010

Last week, Israel permitted the transport of jam, halva and
shaving razors into Gaza. Since September 2007, goods entering Gaza had
been limited to a ‘humanitarian minimum’ of approximately 70 items of
foodstuffs and medicines (4000 items were allowed in before the
blockade). During a visit to Gaza in February 2009, John Kerry
discovered that Israel had banned pasta but not rice, because the latter
was considered a necessity while the former was a luxury.

After the flotilla fiasco and the widespread international
condemnation that followed, it appears that Israel’s policy is changing
and that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is actually willing to
broaden its definition of humanitarianism to include jam and halva. It
is even possible that pasta will soon be allowed into Gaza. Browsing
through a partial list of banned items, provided by the Israeli human
rights group Gisha, one can only speculate which items will be
the next to be allowed to enter Gaza with the adoption of Israel’s new humanitarianism.

Some of the things that can’t be
imported to Gaza:

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