In a recent visit to Turkey, the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the current blockade on Gaza and referred to the territory as a “prison camp”. The Israeli embassy in London accordingly responded to Mr. Cameron’s remarks by asserting that the Palestinians living in Gaza are actually prisoners of Hamas, rather than prisoners of the Israeli blockade. Furthermore, the Israeli spokesperson claimed that Hamas, due to its election in 2006, is responsible for the situation in Gaza.
While the media is focusing on the visit and remarks by David Cameron, the responding statements by the Israeli embassy are, in my view, more interesting. Both statements are clear examples of political spin, but spin that has gone so far as to place the blame for Israeli actions upon Hamas.
The logic is impossible to follow, but according to the Israeli envoy to the UK, this is what we are supposed to understand about the blockade. They want us to believe that Hamas really doesn’t care much about the well-being of the Palestinians who elected it into power. And that Hamas is enforcing a strict blockade on the territory that they control. Clearly, they would never want any form of international trade, freedom of movement, secure access to power, or building materials. Instead, Hamas focuses solely on building rockets and killing Israelis, at the expense of any effort that might aid Gaza.
However, the officials who work at the Israeli Embassy are not idiots. They most likely understand that the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and the ensuing conditions of poverty, are not the responsibility of Hamas. But they still try to put out this kind of spin, wriggling their way out of any sort of blame or consequences and using Hamas as a scapegoat. Unfortunately, many in the United States accept this spin without question.