A blockade which has been in place since 2007 has been slightly relaxed today. When Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 Israel imposed a blockade. It was according to Israeli authorities to prevent the shipment of weapons or materials used for hostilities.
The blockade has led to continuing hardship for the people of Gaza. As a one size fits all blockade many materials which could be used inappropriately have been denied the people of Israel. That has included material to build.
After the recent Gaza Israel conflict many properties and building in Gaza remain damaged or flattened. Israel may have some damaged buildings but at least it has the means to rectify this. In fact it has been gaily building new buildings in disputed territory which has added fuel to the fire. For Palestinians getting the materials they need into the country has been a huge problem.
Today there is news that the first shipment of much needed gravel will be allowed into Gaza. There is no doubt that whilst this is a small gesture it has to be a step in the right direction. As in all conflicts and differences compromise is key. It takes both sides to give a little.
It is hard to imagine that the West would allow a country to blockade any other nation in the way that it has Israel. Hamas is known to be a hard line Islamist group that does not recognise the State of Israel. That is it was. Currently that stance does not seem to have changed.
While Israel continue to claim they will prevent arms entering Gaza they continue to stock pile their weapons.
Religious differences and more have meant that in Northern Ireland conflict has been hard to end. Hate tends to fester and enlarge. Neither side in Ireland though have imposed such harsh measures on the other. You could say because both sides are Irish but they are as different as Palestinians and Israelis.
While the West has some sympathy for Israelis many also have similar feelings for the people of Palestine. They too are an unrecognised state although their current recognition by the UN may go some way to addressing that.
The fact that Gaza is in tatters, structurally speaking, would hardly encourage the people to welcome Israelis with open arms, would it? At least by allowing a partial reprieve of the blockade it is a step in the right direction.
The means for rebuilding hav come by way of funding from Qatar and through Egypt. Perhaps Israel is being generous or perhaps they have finally seen the writing on the wall?
Note: In 2010 the US administration said that the blockade was untenable so, as the US is Israel's biggest backer, why its continued existence?
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog