But symbolism matters less than simple human decency. Matt Yglesias points out the inhumane and ill-conceived treatment of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israelis:
stop and think for a minute about how this looks through the eyes of a young Palestinian. Israel has the right to decide what can and can’t be sent to Gaza. Yesterday, pasta couldn’t be. Today it can. But what about dried beans? Cornmeal? What if I should want to send a box of Sour Patch Kids to Gaza–well, I probably couldn’t. That’s not bona fide humanitarian aid, and Gaza is under blockade. An act of war that targets the entire civilian population of the strip. And Israel’s Prime Minister says Israel can never agree to an independent Palestinian state. And the whole international community is okay with this. Nobody is trying to break the blockade. Instead, Palestinians are supposed to learn that terrorism is wrong (it targets civilians!) and that it’s important to recognize Israel’s right to exist. But somehow nobody wants to teach these lessons to the Israelis.
I fail to see how this sort of hypocrisy could benefit anyone. In a conflict dominated by mutual feelings of injustice, the only solution is to offer occasional signs of good faith.