I tutor a girl at the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Every Wednesday, I see John: tallish black-haired Irish guy walking around the space near the picnic tables where staff (generally Gazan) have coffee. Tomorrow maybe I will go shake John’s hand. Why? Because of this:

Israeli sources have confirmed that Israel will make an official request to the United Nations for clarification of how an official representative of the United Nations could call for European countries to send ships to Gaza without authorization and prior coordination with Israel.
John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with desperately-needed supplies to the beleaguered territory.
In an interview with a Norwegian newspaper, Mr. Ging said, “The international community must take responsibility on this issue and embrace practical ways to break the siege, because it is possible to break it.”
In urging the world to send ships to the shores of Gaza, he added, “We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible.”
According to Mr. Ging, Egypt and Israel are responsible for the continuation of the blockade. “How could Israel evade responsibility for the siege, and how could Egypt not agree to show flexibility in order to bring aid to Gaza?” he asked. “It is time for the international community to facilitate assistance by sea as it did in Haiti.”
Officials in Israel were taken aback by the statements and noted that they are unprecedented and very serious. Hebrew radio reported that several overseas aid organizations have taken John Ging’s statement to heart and preparations are already being made to send ships carrying food supplies to Gaza.

I think Ging probably snapped. The Gazan economy is shuddering. There’s too little of the lubrication that normally enables economic systems to run smoothly. Not enough cash, inflated prices, no jobs, no raw materials. And the additional Hamas taxes–necessary, because there’s a dearth of hard cash, a perennial problem that is now at a crisis point–will make the lives of the petty capitalist service providers and merchants that are what’s left of Gaza’s economy much harder.
I’m sure Ging knows this and he is probably sick of UN strictures that suggest that he clamp his mouth shut vis-a-vis the illegal siege. Only suggest. Here is the spin: Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman, said, “The United Nations has no plans to use sea routes in Gaza, but will consider all legal options available to bring in assistance and commercial supplies.” Ging didn’t suggest using the sea route, he endorsed it.
By endorsing it, he contributed to the flotilla’s symbolic legitimacy. By strengthening the ships’ symbolic legitimacy, Israel will look sillier and sillier when it makes its habitual threats against those amazing ships. Anyway, there are activists on those ships who will be quite willing to sail them into the Israeli bullets that will cross in front of their bows.
 Technorati Tags: Free Gaza, freedom flotilla, Gaza, Israel, John Ging, Palestine, UNRWA
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