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Haiti is aided but Gaza blockaded

Regarding Kevin Toomey's praise for Israel's rapid response in delivering aid and personnel to Haiti (Letters, January 27), is it not somewhat ironic that Israel can send a humanitarian mission halfway around the world and yet, less than an hour from Tel Aviv, it continues to deprive the people of Gaza of all but the most basic necessities?

After the Israeli onslaught of Gaza in December 2008, which led to the death of almost 1,400 citizens and the destruction of much of the territory's infrastructure, a ban remains on the importation of cement -- depriving the citizens of Gaza with the opportunity to rebuild their houses.

Similarly there is a total ban on other raw materials that would allow the residents of Gaza to engage in production and commerce. Baby formula, vinegar and cardamon are also among the products prohibited from entering Gaza -- but this list changes on a weekly basis.

Last year, it took US senator John Kerry's intervention to persuade the Israelis to allow macaroni to be imported to Gaza.

Surely, this elephant in the room is embarrassing for a country that spends more on public relations than any other nation? What a strange world we live in.

Trish o'Rourke

Irish Independent