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Is it time to end the Gaza blockade?
After a botched raid on the "freedom flotilla," Israel faces mounting calls to stop blocking imports into the Palestinian territory
 
A Palestinian boy stands in front of the gate to Erez during a protest of the Gaza blockade.
A Palestinian boy stands in front of the gate to Erez during a protest of the Gaza blockade.
Corbis

Israel has come under increasing pressure to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip following last weekend's deadly raid on a fleet of ships carrying aid supplies. The Jewish state imposed the blockade three years ago after the militant group Hamas won local elections in Gaza, and since then the small, densely populated territory has been enveloped by what the U.N. describes as a "severe humanitarian crisis." Israel says ending the blockade would — by allowing Hamas to import weapons — imperil its security. Does Israel have a right to keep such a tight lid on the Palestinians in Gaza? (Watch a report about calls to end the Gaza blockade)

The blockade has to stop: It's time to end the blockade, says Mohamad Bazzi in GlobalPost. The international effort to "isolate Hamas" is a failure. The tight economic sanctions were supposed to undermine the Islamist group's popularity among Gaza's 1.4 million residents. Instead, "it has only harmed the people of Gaza and made them more dependent on Hamas."
"Israel must end the Gaza blockade"

Israel is only defending itself: The Israelis "have every right to sustain a blockade of Gaza," says Newt Gingrich, as quoted by Politico. "Hamas is actively every day trying to kill Israelis," and the blockade makes it harder for militants to get their hands on weapons. Moreover, there's "no humanitarian crisis" in Gaza — the U.S. has been funding food and shelter there through the U.N. for 60 years.
"Gingrich: There was 'no humanitarian crisis' in Israel"

Not enough aid is getting through: Only 20 percent of the aid Israel allows is getting through to Gazans, says Allegra Pacheco in The New York Times. That's just enough to prevent "starvation and most disease," which somehow "has made the siege 'tolerable'" to the world community -- but there's no denying "the status quo is unbearable for the Gazans," and the aid situation needs to be better managed as long as the blockade is in place.
"A failure of relief agencies"

 

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