The President of the International Crisis Group, Canada's own Louise Arbour, isn't pulling any punches in responding to Israel's assault on a flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza.
For years, many in the international community have been complicit in a policy that aimed at isolating Gaza in the hope of weakening Hamas. This policy is morally appalling and politically self-defeating. It has harmed the people of Gaza without loosening Hamas's control. Yet it has persisted regardless of evident failure.
“The flotilla assault is but a symptom of an approach that has been implicitly endorsed by many”, says Robert Malley, Director of Crisis Group’s Middle East Program. “It is yet another stark illustration of the belated need for a comprehensive change in policy toward Gaza.”
International condemnation and calls for an inquiry will come easily, but many who will issue them must acknowledge their own role in the deplorable treatment of Gaza that formed the backdrop to today’s events. [Iggy, I think that includes you] The policy of isolating Gaza, seeking to turn its population against Hamas, and endorsing a "West Bank first" approach was not an exclusively Israeli one. To focus on this recent tragedy alone is to miss the much wider and more important political lessons.
...“Today, we have witnessed the sad outgrowth of a failed and dangerous policy”, says Louise Arbour, Crisis Group President. “One hopes it can provide an opportunity for a long-overdue course correction.”
Meanwhile, the silence from Ignatieff is deafening. He did issue a cold fish statement regretting the loss of life and asking for Israeli clarification but that's it. Then again he might realize that, when it comes to Gaza, he stands right up there with the "morally appalling" who've been complicit in "the deplorable treatment of Gaza that formed the backdrop to today's events." In any event, progressive and centrist Liberals shouldn't need the International Crisis Group or Louise Arbour to recognize that their party leader's unbalanced and absolutionist, pro-Israel policy on Gaza is morally appalling.