Leader: Gaza’s fate hangs in the balance

Israel's friends should do more to persuade it to lift its draconian blockade on Gaza

Britain marked the first anniversary of Israel's bombardment of Gaza by announcing a £50m aid package for the Palestinians. Pledging aid is simple. Ensuring it is delivered to homeless Gazans is more difficult.For over two years, Gaza has been under siege. Its isolation is a policy "amounting to collective punishment", concluded a UN investigation in September, led by the South African judge Richard Goldstone. He tells the New Statesman on page 18 that he remains "a friend of Israel".

Israel's friends should do more to persuade it to lift this cruel blockade. There is, as Donald Macintyre points out on page 20, a "disjunction between the international community's rhetorical calls for the lifting . . . of the siege and the absence of the kind of pressure which would have ensured that it happened". The European Union must take the lead in applying such pressure. Gazans cannot wait any longer.

This article first appeared in the 04 January 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Gaza: one year on