The appalling loss of life on the Gaza aid flotilla yesterday (TUC statement here) raises many questions. Like Amnesty International and Oxfam, the TUC, ETUC and ITUC have condemned the assault launched by the Israeli military, and called for an enquiry. But the bigger question is: what can the international community do about the Gaza blockade? Is it time for a Berlin-style airlift?
For younger readers, the Berlin airlift was an attempt to prevent Berlin starving when the then USSR closed down access to the city, surrounded by East Germany, at the height of the Cold War. The only way in was by air, and hundreds of planes risked aerial attack to fly across East Germany to deliver goods to what was in essence a beseiged city. Eventually, the Soviet Union stepped back and allowed road and rail access to resume.
So, could the international community do the same for Gaza? The EU, FCO and many other Governments have reminded Israel this week of their support for the end of the blockade, but so far it’s just words. Would Israel really risk bringing down EU planes flying aid into Gaza, or board EU ships?