A recent Haaretz story reports the Israeli government's decision to allow 350 heads of cattle into the strip for the first time in nine months. (The Israeli military's "Coordinator of (Israeli) Government Activities in the Territories" (COGAT) has reportedly determined that 300 cows per week are the minimum needed in Gaza in order to avoid malnutrition, and a "humanitarian crisis.") But why was shipment of cattle forbidden in the first place?
This is a case of an idiotic decision by the Israeli government. Unlike in the case of the shooting of children, which is customarily described as a regrettable consequence of the rocks they throw (or is it "hand-propelled mineral devices"?), there's no way the ban on livestock can be rationalized, and it has been met with fierce resistance from within Israel itself. Not because of any humanitarian concern, mind you, but because it hurts the cattle raising industry:
The director of the Livestock Growers Association, Haim Dayan, said that the problem of his colleagues is that even though they now have permission to raise livestock for export to the Gaza Strip, long-term bans prevent them from doing so. As a result, they complain that they are often stuck with large stocks of cattle, something that lowers local prices and can result in enormous losses to the growers.
"If they tell us that the Strip is closed entirely, we will plan accordingly. But the current situation cannot go on," Dayan said.
Another concern that has been raised is that the smuggling of cattle from Egypt through tunnels to make up for the animals that aren't coming in from Israel might result in unhealthy animals being imported that could eventually result in disease spreading to Israel:
Israel's ban on the importation of livestock into Gaza, which has included cattle, sheep and goats, did not succeed in preventing them from being smuggled in. According to Gaza-based sources, hundreds if not thousands of head of livestock were smuggled in from Sinai in recent months, via tunnels.
The veterinary services of the Ministry of Agriculture warned the Defense Minister that the smuggling of livestock originating in countries like Somalia, where inadequate veterinary care is available, may contribute to the outbreak of illnesses, including mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, and Brucellosis, that can also be dangerous for humans.
In summary, Israel has taken an irrational measure that might hurt its own economy and health system, as well as its already tarnished international image. The logic behind such irresponsible behavior is that if Gazans, including young children, are prevented from eating animal protein they will understand how bad Hamas is and eventually topple the regime. In other words, forced infant malnutrition is being used to try and achieve a political result.
What do you call it? I call it terrorism.