Counting the Cost
Israel's grip on Gaza
Israel's blockade on Gaza, ties between Israel and Turkey, and global credit ratings agencies.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2010 04:54 GMT

Hello folks,

Forgive this blog going up a bit late this week - if you've been watching AJE (and I'm sure you have!) you'll have seen our very comprehensive coverage of the Gaza flotillaraid, which has taken up a lot of our time.

From a humanitarian and diplomatic point of view, Israel's attack on the convoy was extraordinary and the ramifications will be felt for a long time. 

It's potentially a watershed moment in the whole Arab-Israeli conflict. 

But economically speaking, what it highlighted was the fact that Gaza's economy has been, and is still, completely controlled, and some would say destroyed, by Israel and its blockade.

There was a line many years ago - a theory that Gaza could become the Singapore of the Middle East. A seaport with the Mediterranean on its doorstep, access to Europe, it could be a major trading hub in the region for the Palestinian people.

But even though Israel withdrew from the Strip in 2005, it always retained control over its borders and then effectively locked them down in 2007 when Hamas took over.

So much potential, but never allowed to flourish.

Now we have a subterranean economy in the form of the smuggling tunnels (Nicole Johnston has a report on thatthis week) and aid convoys trying desperately to break the siege to bring in humanitarian and construction goods.

On the show this week, we'll also look at relations between Israel and Turkey, which have deteriorated so badly as a result of the attack.

These are two important trading partners in the region, ironically much of it in military hardware.

All of that's at risk now. We talk to an expert from Chatham House in Londonon what's at stake.

And in the second half of our show, Samah El-Shahat brings us her take on the world's credit ratings agencies.

You know the names - Moody's, Standard and Poor's, Fitch – and they're under the microscope right now for the way they conduct their business, more specifically how they acted at the outset of the financial crisis.

Remember these companies are extraordinarily powerful, whether they care to admit it or not.

A downgrade from a ratings agency, for a company or a country, can spell often immediate losses in money and confidence.  Just ask Greece or Dubai World – they'll tell you all about it!

So once again, we're all over the world on Counting the Cost. Hope you'll join us.

And don't forget to follow us on Twitter too – just look for @AJCountingCost.

Counting the Cost can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1430, 2030; Saturday: 0430, 1230, 1900; Sunday: 0130, 1630; Monday: 0830; Tuesday: 0600.

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