Thursday, May 17, 2007

Palestinians Destroying Palestine

Israel video of a rocket being launched from the Gaza Strip

The united Hamas-Fatah government of the non-state country of Palestine is no more. So far over forty people have been killed in violence between the two groups. Yesterday Hamas commandos killed six Fatah gangsters and followed it up by ambushing their own thugs.

Meanwhile Hamas and Islamic Jihad continues to fire rockets into Israel. These groups are hoping for massive Israeli response which can create a unifying cause for Palestinians. Videos of rocket launches and Israeli school children running for cover have made the rounds on the internet and Israel. The outcry due to months of rocket attacks is pushing Prime Minister Olmert to consider military action.

An interesting geopolitical development should be noted. The Arab countries are not blaming Israel. This has been a long and slow process but the Arabs countries no longer solely blame Israel for all the Middle East's problems. They do not like or support Israel but they are slowly realizing the geopolitical truths. Since the start of the recent trouble military commanders in Egypt have decried the Hamas rocket attacks. The recent developments mirror the build up to the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War in which Arab state denounced Israel's enemy for its aggression.

There have been murmurs on Israel weighing transfer of some of the West Bank to Jordanian control and possibly handing Gaza over to Egypt. The hope is Jordan can develop the West Bank, which has potential, while Egypt can crush dissent like no other. The risk, besides losing territory which Israel has precious little of, is that Egypt is always at risk of falling into control of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Palestinian gangs have been too busy at killing each other and blaming issue. If the largest receiver of international aid per capita truly wishes to have its own state, it has to start building itself up from within. If not, it faces continued poverty and violence while losing international support.


Jay@Soob said...

"If the largest receiver of international aid per capita truly wishes to have its own state, it has to start building itself up from within."

Agreed, wholeheartedly. I'd add that if those that toss their coins into the "wishing well" of Palestine would back it with international efforts to promote Palestinian political stability before even considering a peace deal with Israel they might well see progress. Stop throwing money at the issue and hoping a Road Map or Arab Peaceplan will work.

Nygdan said...

You noted that the arabs in general are putting the blame on hamas here, and that previously they had blamed hezbollah (of course, the blame seemed to shift back to isreal after that debacle).

Which is interesting, because it seems that Israel is able to garner public and governmental support, right where it needs it, by NOT responding in force to the attacks of these terrorist groups.

Odd situation.

QuiQui said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
QuiQui said...

I think a more informed critical analysis is warranted before sweeping conclusions and generalizations can be made about the Palestinian experience, and in particular, the current situation in Gaza.

When Israel withdrew is last soldier from the Gaza Strip on September 12, 2005, it was to mark an end to Israel’s 38 year-long occupation in Gaza. Yet, Israel has continued to exercise control of all of what surrounds Gaza; most notably, access between Gaza and the outside world through all of its sea ports, air space, and border-crossings. The latter includes Gaza’s border with Egypt – a boundary not contiguous to Israeli territory. This is Gaza's only viable access to the outside world and the key to Gaza if the place is to be even a shadow of livability for any human being.

The Egypt/Gaza boundary, fortified by heavy concrete and steel, has only one gate at Rafah -- run by Egyptians on the Egyptian side and by European Union monitors on the Palestinian side – the EU monitors operate heavily under the Israeli government’s direction, which utilizes heavy camera surveillance.

Gazans have daily life concerns that do not involve crossing into Israel. Food, water, medicine are some basic examples we can all identify with, and should identify with. (That I feel I have to point this out speaks to a large part of the problem in one line.) Because of the trade blockades, resources in Gaza are scarce. Egypt has these resources; crossing into Egypt for health care needs not found in the Strip is not rare. In fact, it is often necessary.

However, Israel closes this border for months, thwarting access to these resources. Further, Gazans in Egypt hoping to cross back home are left stranded. Many cannot afford to pay the $9/night lodging in Egypt's border towns and end up sleeping at the border.

Babies have been born while waiting at the border.

People have died while waiting at the border.

Since last summer's war in Lebanon, the Israeli government has kept the Rafah crossing closed more than it has kept it opened; their justification was one based on collective punishment on Gazan civilians to inflict pressure their "leaders" per the Israeli military’s wishes.

Further, since disengagement, only Gazans can enter Gaza (few and rare exceptions are made for journalists and humanitarian organizations) – a law not established by any Gazan.

Perhaps the most accurate way to describe the post-disengagement experience in Gaza is as life in a panoptic open-air prison. One of the world's most densely populated areas -- 1.4 million residents living in 360 square kilometer area -- is on the verge of humanitarian disaster. Disengagement has not been followed by Gaza' autonomy, and it certainly has not absolved the Israeli government from any responsibility there.

Surveillance and control are done in the name of Israel's right to exist. None of it is done in the name of anyone else's right to exist. How is Gaza, “the largest receiver of international aid per capita” even to begin to “start building itself up from within," as you say?

Disengagement withdrew the (view of) prison guards but left the prisoners. This has rendered internal fighting in Gaza and now rockets are being fired into and out of both Israel and Gaza.

And “Palestinians” are to blame?

Governments and other forms of “leadership” cannot possibly represent everyone they claim to, and we should not fall into the trap of accepting this at face value. It takes a certain type of person – a certain type of ego – to believe that his or her way is the one to solve “our” problems (read: “their” problems). These are people we refer to as “politicians.” These are people we refer to as “leaders.”

Similar generalizations should not be made about citizens of the imagined community that is the nation-state. “Israel” does not equal all Israelis. Just like “Hamas” and “Fatah” and “insert any other Palestinian military faction here” do not equal all Palestinians. We have the ability to realize the fallacy in, and dangers of, using such sweeping identity markers.

Definitely, both sides are to blame for unspeakable atrocities. But it is unfair to say all Palestinians are to blame just as it is unfair to say that all Israelis are to blame.

The world is more complicated than that. Still, we accept at truth what we are told to accept as truth. How often does making our opinions being begin by forming our opinions? Perhaps a more informed critical analyses will have all of us "slowly realizing the geopolitical truths," as you say.

Catholicgauze said...

Thanks for the comment. I see two point in your comment: 1) Dealing with Gaza's status and 2)a concern with wording.

The first part can be discussed sometime later because no where do I discuss the legalness and technicalities of who controls what in Gaza in this post. I also do not discuss the targeting of leaders of cells compared to the open targeting of civilians.

As for 2, if you read the post no where do I make the claim all Palestinians are destroying Palestine. The title itself is correct in the sense there are Palestinians who are currently destroying alot more than they are creating (just like how one can say "South Dakotans reject voting ban" even though there were South Dakotans who voted for or against the bill). In the post I make sure to point out individual groups like "Hamas" "Fatah" and "Islamic Jihad." I don't say Palestinians are doing it but I am as specific as possible. Just like how I say "military commanders in Egypt have decried the Hamas rocket attacks.

The subtext of the post is a call to Palestinians to reject the violent groups and find their own peaceful leaders. M17, the Irish Republican Army, and others have turned against violence and have achieved political goals peacefully. It is the Palestinians turn to find their Ghandi who can free them from the cycle of violence of Hamas, Fatah, and others.

I hope this clarifies.