Mixed Messages a Literal Problem as Israeli FM Talks Gaza

English Statement Blasts Qatari Emir's Visit, But Arabic Version Cheers It

Israel’s policy on the Gaza Strip has gotten so tangled and self-contradictory that even within the Yisrael Beiteinu-dominated Foreign Ministry they can’t keep their official statements on the matter straight.

Last week’s visit to Gaza by the Qatari Emir brought about the predictable expression of outrage from the ever-outraged spokesman Yigal Palmor, who insisted that the emir’s visit amounted to backing terrorists. At the same time, the other spokesman for the exact same ministry, Lior Ben Dor, praised the visit, saying Israel had always sought Arab states to take responsibility for Gaza aid.

This isn’t just a case of two spokesmen who got their signals crossed but a literal expression of Israel’s actual policy, which on the one hand is to treat Gaza as an open air prison from which only the bare minimum of food enters, and also a territory they have “withdrawn” from and which is the international community’s problem in theory, at least so long as they don’t try to actually deliver any medicine through the naval blockade.

The problem is that the Gaza crisis is becoming more widely acknowledged across the world, and that foreign development aid is no longer theoretical but waiting just outside the boundaries of the strip, with only Israeli threats to keep it from reaching the Gazans. This has left Israel’s ‘policy,’ such as it is, in tatters, and has military officials openly talking up another attack on Gaza just to shake things up, the hopes that the new equilibrium will be more manageable.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.