The announcement by Israel that it will take steps to ease its
blockade of the Gaza Strip has been roundly dismissed by the regional
Arabic press as a cynical ploy.
Israel has been under severe
international pressure to review its policy towards Gaza since its raid
of a flotilla carrying aid to the strip left nine dead. An Israeli
government statement said on Thursday that Israel would “liberalise the
system by which civilian goods enter Gaza”, but did not specify how this
Commentators in the Middle East argued that Israel
was seeking only to mollify its critics rather than acting in the
interests of lasting peace. Pundits across the region called for the
blockade on Gaza to be lifted immediately.
The Israeli press paid
little attention to the announcement, focusing instead on yesterday’s
protest by Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem.