“Gaza has become the symbol in the Arab world of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, and we have to change that,” the senior American official said. “We need to remove the impulse for the flotillas. The Israelis also realize this is not sustainable.”
At a meeting of the Quartet a year ago in Italy, for example, the group asserted that the current situation was not sustainable and called for the unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian aid within Gaza, as well as the reopening of crossing points.
But Obama administration officials made it clear that the deaths had given a new urgency to changing the policy.
The new British prime minister, David Cameron, also called for an end to the blockade, criticizing the raid as “completely unacceptable.”
One of the primary rationales for the blockade offered by Israeli officials is the need to create a material and political gap between the West Bank, run by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, and Gaza, run by Hamas. And political surveys have shown a preference for Fatah and discontent with Hamas among Palestinians. But the latest events, the American officials say, have given Hamas a dangerous lift.