Hours after the Israeli government announced that it was intending to issue a new “banned goods” list for the Gaza Strip, focused on placating international demands to allow more food and humanitarian goods into the tiny enclave, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a pledge that the move would actually “tighten” the blockade.
“Our friends around the world are getting behind our decision and giving international legitimacy to the security blockade on Hamas,” Netanyahu insisted, adding again that “dual use” goods would continue to be barred from Gaza.
Israel’s military has claimed broad swathes of goods to be “dual use” in the past, including imposing a three year ban on shoes under the claim that shoes could theoretically be made the part of a military uniform, and therefore had a military use.
Officials say that banned luxury goods like pasta and cordiander will be allowed into the Gaza Strip under the new list, but so far the government has been mum on the most needed item, cement. Israel has barred all cement from the strip as a “dual use” good as well, leaving the homes in the region in ruins since the January 2009 invasion despite massive pledges of foreign aid. It seems the changes in the blockade may end up being superficial, and done purely for to score points internationally.