As Israel ordered a slight easing of its blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday,
McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as “economic warfare” against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory.
Israel imposed severe restrictions on Gaza in June 2007,
after Hamas won elections and took control of the coastal enclave after winning elections there the previous year,
and the government has long said that the aim of the blockade is to stem the flow of weapons to militants in Gaza.
Last week, after Israeli commandos killed nine volunteers on a Turkish-organized Gaza aid flotilla,
Israel again said its aim was to stop the flow of terrorist arms into Gaza.
However, in response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group,
the Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of economic warfare.