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Israel's Gaza Blockade Legal, Many Scholars Say

Publication Date: 
June 05, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
Bob Egelko

Allen Weiner, co-director of Stanford's Program in International and Comparative Law, is quoted on the the legality of the blockade Israel imposed on Gaza after withdrawing its troops three years ago. Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle filed this story:

As another ship carrying activists and supplies heads toward besieged Gaza, Israel is asserting the right to stop and search the vessel as it did earlier this week, when commandos boarded a flotilla in international waters and shot and killed nine passengers.

Normally, a nation that seizes a ship on the high seas, beyond its territorial waters, is guilty of piracy. But a nation that is enforcing a blockade in wartime has the right to board a ship that it reasonably suspects of carrying contraband for the cordoned-off area.


"Most international lawyers ... would say a blockade is permissible in an armed conflict, and it includes the ability to stop and search ships in international waters," said Allen Weiner, co-director of Stanford's International Law Program. Although Israel has the right to control its border with Gaza, he added, it has applied a "choke hold ... that most of the world views as cruel and unjust."