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Obama administration wants change of Israel’s Gaza blockade policy

3 juin 2010

The Washington Post has a piece today (by Glenn Kessler and Scott Wilson) saying that the US repeatedly told Israel to use « caution and restraint » with flotilla and Israel ignored the advice. « We communicated with Israel through multiple channels many times regarding the flotilla, » P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement issued in response to a question from The Washington Post. « We emphasized caution and restraint given the anticipated presence of civilians, including American citizens. »

According to WP, « The acknowledgment shed new light on the administration’s contact with the Israeli government before the Monday morning raid, which has inflamed international opinion against Israel and complicated President Obama‘s efforts to improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world. White House officials said Wednesday that there is a growing consensus within the administration that U.S. and Israeli policy toward Gaza must change, even as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flatly rejected calls for his country to lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory. » The unnamed administration officials, however, asserted that Netanyahu was privately in agreement that the current policy had to be modified. The Obama administration regards the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip as increasingly untenable, according to senior U.S. officials.

This debate comes as another ship, the Rachel Corrie, will try to breach the Gaza blockade as early as Friday. The ship, which originated in Ireland, is carrying cement, educational materials, toys, and medical supplies meant for the people of Gaza. The European Campaign to End Siege on Gaza also announced that it had raised enough funds to sponsor three ships in a new flotilla.

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