Israel decided yesterday to ease the blockade of Gaza. Or not. It depends which media outlets you imbibe.
Haaretz tells that the easing is dramatic, and adds gloatingly that the Turks did it.
The New York Times says Israel bowed to pressure following the Mavi Marmara incident, and the American administration is pleased.
The Washington Post reports that Israel is switching from a short list of permitted items to a list of forbidden ones, and speculates that this may be a good thing - the administration thinks so - or may not. We'll have to see, is the tone.
The London Times starts with Tony Blair, and continues with him: their evaluation of the decision is whatever he says, i.e. it's dramatic, it could of course have been even better but it's still good, and of course the Israelis must implement it as decided.
The BBC has a long report, mostly devoid of snark: they tell what changes Israel is making, cite American approval, underline that Tony Blair was instrumental in the decision, and end with a quote from unidentified Palestinians who say the whole thing is a sham. Ah, and they mistakenly tell that the blockade began in 2005 (which is when Israel left Gaza), when in reality it began only in 2006, after Hamas won the Palestinian elections.
The Guardian is greatly impressed by how the pressure on Israel worked, after its "deadly interception" of the flotilla. They explain what Israel proposes to do, but also explain that it's not clear what this really means, and then give space for various critics of Israel to explain why it's either not significant or not really going to happen. Unnamed "aid agencies", a top Hamas fellow, an Israeli radical NGO, those sort of people. Still, they add, the White House is pleased. Of course, the main reason must have been to foil the arrival of additional ships.
UNRWA says nothing less than Israel fully throwing open its border is acceptable, so this move isn't.
Juan Cole, whom I rarely read these days, starts with an article from the LA Times about how the Israeli decision is only marginally significant, and may well not really change anything. Cole then goes on to poke fun at Israel's security agencies, who don't understand the Arab world and are ridiculous.
Richard Silverstein manages not to notice the matter at all, so I don't have to link to him and you don't need to check - which is good, because he's inordinately sensitive to his page hits. Mondoweiss also hasn't noticed: odd, that. Those folks never miss a report about how ghastly Israel is, but this one seems to have escaped their attention. At least Andrew Sullivan noticed. He agrees with other bloggers that it's a scandal that Israel may wriggle out of an international investigation of the flotilla incident in return for easing the blockade, but admits the easing itself is a good thing.
The IDF announced it is expanding supplies into Gaza by 30% immediately, with more to come.
Meanwhile, watch the market: prices in Gaza are tumbling since yesterday. Not because shortages will now disappear, but because goods brought in from Israel are of higher quality than those smuggled in through the Rafah tunnels, and are also cheaper.
We're not talking about learned scholars disagreeing about an event from, say, 500 years ago. This all happened last night.