MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Last week Gaza almost starved to death as Israel and the Palestine Authority bickered over whether goods could enter Gaza from the Karni or Kerem Shalom crossings. Israel insisted that Kerem Shalom was safer. Palestinians insisted they wanted a crossing that through Karni. Karni-Kerem-Shalom, Kerem-Shalom - Karni. Tomayto, tomahto. Finally the US insisted that somehow food and other vital goods had to get to Gaza, and at last writing both crossings seem to be open without incident. Israel wanted to use Kerem Shalom because it is safer. Palestinians wanted to use Karni because Israel wanted to use Kerem Shalom. Meanwhile, kids in Gaza were about to go hungry, because Gaza was running out of flour.
The open crossings do not solve the problem of Gaza isolation entirely it seems. Goods can get in, but nothing can get out. Israeli clothing manufacturers were complaining they could not get textiles that had been made for them in Gaza. Produce grown by Palestinians in Gaza greenhouses, donated through the magnanimity of Jewish philanthropists, rotted, causing huge losses to the Palestinian economy.
Nobody talks about the obvious problem. If Israel intends to really disengage from Gaza, then Gaza has to have a means of exchanging goods with the world outside Israel. The port of Gaza is closed. The Rafah crossing to Egypt can be used for people only. About the only thing that Gaza can export is Qassam rockets that land with fair regularity in Sderot and the outskirts of Ashqelon. This situation cannot continue indefinitely, but nobody seems to be interested in the least. The Israelis will not allow opening of the Gaza port or delivery of goods through Rafah because of security concerns. The Palestinian Authority will not allow Israeli inspections in the port of Gaza or in Rafah, that would make possible passage of goods, because of considerations of "sovereignty" and prestige. The Egyptians are not terribly anxious to have free and open passage with Gaza because much as they might want to export goods to Gaza, they are not very interested in importing Hamas ideology and bombs. The result is a totally impossible situation that is made possible by the cynicism of political leaders and the silence of the press. The PA is apparently more interested in the "right of resistance" and sovereignty and prestige issues then it is interested in feeding its people. Palestinian leaders have proven time and again that they are unwilling or unable to stop terror, and they know that Israel cannot allow it. If there have been "only" Qassam rocket attacks and no suicide bombings, it is not for lack of trying by Palestinian terrorists. Only this week, Israeli security forces foiled two would-be suicide bombings in 24 hours. As long as this situation continues, Israel and the world will be relatively indifferent to raucous complaints about the "apartheid wall," the closures, checkpoints and encirclement of Gaza that seem to be tragically necessary to prevent these attacks.
Israel does not have a diabolical plan to starve the Palestinian population, but Israeli planners apparently decided it is simply not their problem. During the election period certainly, the Israeli government is going to be super-vigilant to prevent the terror attacks that Islamic Jihad, and probably Hamas and Al-Aqsa brigades, are just aching to carry out, as they always try to do when there is a "danger" that Israel might elect moderate leadership.
The situation of Gaza is even more ominous when we consider the much-vaunted disengagement plans of the Kadima party for the West Bank. Israel will withdraw from some territories to supposedly recognized borders, which nobody will recognize, but Israel will maintain the Jordan River as a "security border." As in Gaza, no goods will enter or leave without Israeli approval, and as the Palestinians will not allow Israeli inspections, there will be no Israeli approval. Does anyone really think such a situation can endure for long?
Israeli planning is totally indifferent to the fate of the Palestinian population, because Israeli public opinion is largely indifferent to their fate. Kadima leader Ehud Olmert's disengagement plan is received as a panacea that will give Israel internationally recognized borders by people who should know better. In Ha'aretz, Yoel Marcus quotes Olmert:
The tragedy is that the collective public wisdom of Israel, which will very likely endorse Olmert's policies, may be right, because there is no real alternative. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the PA, offered
Perhaps the man has undergone a conversion, but the sad fact is, it is probably too late. Hamas, not Abbas, rules the Palestinian Authority. As of this writing they seem to be intent on implementing their charter which calls for destruction of Israel and Zionism, which is supposedly implementing the plan of the Elders of Zion. Hamas leaders insist they won't give up the right to "resistance", and they won't arrest terrorists. Hamas seems to be intent on dismantling the PLO, which is Abbas's power base, unless they can take it over.
There is, in brief, no real peace partner in Palestine, and no peace plan in Israel or anywhere else.
"Go, Olmert Go" wrote Marcus in Ha'aretz, but where are we going?
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Replies: 8 comments
Is there a way out of this entanglement? The Israelis can't do anything because of terrorism.The Palestinians because of the occupation. People who do want tomake peace are never going to get enough power.
What would happen if the US or Europe invited Israelis and Palestinians to peace talks similar to the Madrid talks (that is without the time limitation of Camp David)?
Beilin keeps saying that Israel should talk to Abu Mazen and PLO regardless of the Hamas. But it doesn't seem very democratic to ignore the elected government of the Palestinians.
Should peace-camp Israelis start campaigning (after the elections) for better unilateral moves than Olmert is now considering?
How can the humanitarian problem in Gazabe solved without it resulting in increased terrorism? Is opening the Israeli passages to produce such a big danger? Is opening the passage to Egypt better or worse?
Posted by Micha @ 03/25/2006 04:00 PM CST
I think untill Israeli government will start implementing '' the right of return'' in a different way , extending it to palestinian refugees of 48 and 67 and not just to citizens of other countries of jewish origin who aren't refugees and have never been such.....peace will never prevail in Israel/Palestine. Learning how to share Jerusalem/Al-Quds will be another benefit as well as treating palestinians as equals rather than as second or third rate human or not so human beings.
Posted by Nathan @ 03/25/2006 04:28 PM CST
Allowing the Palestinian refugees to return is highly unlikely to resolve the situation, and probably would exacerbate it. Palestinians "returning" to what is now Israel would find life very hard and would be very unlikely to progress to becoming an integral part of the state. The Israeli economy could not provide for them and they would become a massive burden upon the current inhabitants of Israel. This would increasingly polarise the state between current Israelis & the incoming returnees. The most likely outcome would be a rapid outbreak of violence and social disintegration.
Posted by Rod Davies @ 03/27/2006 09:59 PM CST
current military capabilites shifting tides of war 10% or less than ancient rome or greek militarys-key to winning conflict with jews
Posted by david @ 03/28/2006 04:14 AM CST
Is there any way that this conflict can be solved peacefully or is everyone going to keep fighting until one completly dies off and the other can start new?
Posted by chris @ 03/29/2006 03:45 AM CST
Chris, so long as there is money for one side or the other to buy weapons, ammunition and food for the troops, then there will be war. When the money starts to run out and the warriors are reduced to clubbing peole with their empty weapons, then the leaders will flee with what's left in the coffers. Then and only then will those who desire peace step forward and find a way to peaceful co-existance.
Posted by Rod Davies @ 03/30/2006 09:07 PM CST
why do the Israelis and Palistinians constantly fight? it's pointless, escpecially when their people are starving. The governments don't care about their people. all they care about who has the bigger balls. The Palistinian Authority isn't agreeing with the Kerem-Shalom plan because the Israelis came up with it. They're acting like children. There's a book called Phantom Tollbooth. It's about a boy who gets lost in this strange world. well, one of the lands he encounters has two brothers who are kings. Their sister had been kidnapped by gobins or something. neither of them would agree with each other on how to rescue her because the other one came up with the idea. all the while, the sister was suffering. in the end, the boy tricked the two brothers into agreeing with each other and the sister was saved. This is like the Israelis and Palistinians. They are the brothers who never agree and the starving people are the sister. While the two governments are fighting, the people are suffering. By ignoring what the Palistinians are doing is making the situation worse. The whole "ignore them and they'll go away" isn't going to work with this. If we want the fighting to stop, someone needs to do something about it.
Posted by Kati @ 04/19/2006 03:58 PM CST
Posted by cdcdcd @ 06/06/2006 08:30 AM CST
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