Middle East press rejects "easing" of Gaza blockade
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 would happen.
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.
EDITORIAL IN THE PALESTINIAN AL-QUDS
Israel has decided to take steps toward "easing" the unjust siege it is imposing on the Gaza Strip... Israel will try to convince the world that it has acceded to the demands of the international community. But the world is not blind and knows that the siege is ongoing.
EDITORIAL IN EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH
Israel's announcement of a so-called easing of the siege is nothing but a lie... Israel does not want to give up its aggressive expansion plans at any price, even for a peaceful settlement that allows the region's people to lead a decent and free life.
SUBHI ZU'AYTAR IN SAUDI ARABIA'S AL-WATAN
It is ironic that Israel thinks it can convince the international community that by adopting these measures the residents of the Gaza Strip, who have been living under siege for four years, will enjoy everything they hoped for. It will be more ironic, in the light of Israeli threats against anyone who thinks of taking part in the Freedom Flotillas preparing to sail to Gaza, if the world believes it.
ADNAN ALI IN SYRIA'S AL-THAWRAH
The talk is of "easing" the siege [rather than ending it]... this is nothing more than an attempt to rescue Israel from itself. If Israel succeeds in placating the world's conscience, excited by the flotilla incident, it is unlikely to lay down a secure basis for the resolution of the current situation, which continues to be a disgrace to humanity.
EDITORIAL IN QATAR'S AL-RAYAH
The decision is an effort to legitimise the "Israeli siege"... the international community has a responsibility to reject this new Israeli ploy and put pressure on Israel to lift the siege completely.
EDITORIAL IN THE UAE'S AL-BAYAN
Everything that is proposed comes under the title of "easing" the siege, which in practice means keeping it but in a "softened" form.