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Flotilla report clears Israel; new blockade break planned
“But Israeli security cannot come at the expense of Palestinian aspirations for freedom and an independent state,” he said. “Right now, you’re talking about fear on the Israeli side, but you’re talking about an open-air prison on the Palestinian side. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people stranded in a little piece of land controlled by Israel.”
Israel, which occupied Gaza after capturing it from Egypt in 1967’s Six-Day War, withdrew all settlers and soldiers in August 2005 but retained control of the territory’s airspace and coastline. It imposed a blockade that severely restricted the flow of goods and people after Hamas’ June 2007 takeover.
Under international pressure after the flotilla incident, Israel significantly relaxed the closure, replacing a list of goods permitted into Gaza Strip with a shorter list of prohibited items with possible military uses.
The number of allowed exports also has increased, though activists say the measures do not go nearly far enough — and that they intend to keep the pressure on Israel until the restrictions are lifted.
“Our message,” said Mr. Feiler, “is that we are going to go again and again and again until the siege of Gaza ends.”
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About the Author
Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.
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