Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gaza Watch

Geoffrey Aronson's argues for stepping back from a focus on Israel's Gaza blockade to focus instead on creating a means for Gaza to simply function as an economic territory:
"Instead of playing the game according to rules set by Israel, the international community must focus on creating an entirely new border regime on Gaza's land borders and sea and air corridors; a regime that removes Israel from its commanding role as gatekeeper, encourages Egypt to establish economic links with its Palestinian neighbor, that establishes land and sea corridors that operate according to internationally accepted standards, and that restores to Palestinians a system to import and export goods and services according to their abilities and preferences--not those of their enemies.

"The failure of the international community to confront Israel's decision to isolate Gaza from Israel and the West Bank is at the root of the web of crises centered on Gaza today. However understandable the international focus on Gaza's humanitarian emergency, what is at issue is the fact that Gaza's current nightmare is the consequence of Israel's continuing effort to separate the political, economic, and security destiny of the West Bank from that of the Gaza Strip--an objective that the international community has tacitly supported because of opposition to Hamas' rule in Gaza."

I can deal with Israel treating Hamas as an enemy group. After all, it is an enemy group, and Israel's conflict with Hamas is part of the broader phenomenon of the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, the isolation of Hamas has, as far as I can tell, done nothing but strengthen the most radical elements of Palestinian society - Hamas and the Salafi groups to its right - while the peace process which was supposed to make Palestinians love Fatah simply does not exist with the Netanyahu government in power. Under these conditions, it makes sense for the international community to find a way to deal with Hamas and the territory it controls.

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