It's the blockade, stupid
For all the outcry around the Israeli flotilla attacks, perhaps one of the most important things to come out of it is that the world is finally paying much-needed attention to the longstanding Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Ultimately, the international uproar coming out of this situation is not the product of one isolated incidence of violence but of a series of actions that have taken place for years in Gaza and have, until now, been largely ignored by most of the world and certainly by the United States. Israel has imposed an embargo allowing only food and humanitarian aid into Gaza – nothing else. Which means that they can’t build any homes, schools, hospitals or other infrastructure in Gaza because no supplies can get in.
This, in turn, has kept Gaza in a terrible state of poverty for years. And this situation has been going on for far too long with much of the world ignoring it – so maybe now, as a result of the Monday attacks, international attention is finally being turned to Gaza.
As Foreign Policy magazine writer Marc Lynch tweeted today: the focus of coming days should be on Gaza itself, not just the boat.
UPDATE: This extremely interesting graphic from The Economist shows just what is and isn’t blocked from getting into Gaza.