Wednesday, June 9, 2010

.0000125 cheers for Israeli compassion

Per Ynet:

"Israeli and Palestinian officials said Wednesday that Israel has allowed some formerly banned food items into the Gaza Strip after widespread international criticism of its three-year-old blockade.

Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said Israel has lifted the ban on soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, chips, cookies and sweets.

But what about those deadly jam rockets Hamas will fling into Israel? Soda, candy . . . can a Mentos/cola suicide bomber be far behind?

I'm only going to say this once, folks: Israel restricted the movements of people and goods in and out of Gaza from the day they entered it in 1967. That did NOT stop when troops and settlers beat a tactical retreat in 2005 . . . and it did not begin again when the rocket fire started.

This list of banned items show the blockade for what it is: illegal collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians. And that is not punishment for rocket fire, or for the capture of a uniformed solider on the battlefield (which is bizarrely referred to as "kidnapping" of a "hostage" within the Zionist reality-distortion field). Those things have made Israel even angrier, and caused it to tighten its vice-grip on Gaza. But why were they angry to begin with? Why blockade Gaza from the moment the settlers left?

The answer, I'm afraid, is that the Israelis were and are angry at being forced out of Gaza by a rag-tag militia. They like to cast their unilateral withdrawal from Gaza as a great gesture for peace which went unreciprocated, but in reality, the direct occupation of Gaza was expensive, deadly, and damaging to Israel's claims to be a democracy. They pulled out out of self-interest, and they resented the Palestinians deeply for making them do it. They refused to sit down with Hamas and come to an agreement formally ending their rule in Gaza. They retained control over the borders, the airspace, and the coastline. In effect, the occupation of Gaza continues, only without the settlers.

The consequences of the 2005 pseudo-withdrawal do indeed call into question the two-state solution, but not in the way the partisans of Israel would have it -- not because Hamas continues to fight Israel, or prepare for the eventuality of fighting Israel. For although this is painted as Palestinian aggression, Israel itself contradicts that claim when they turn around and assert the legality of a wartime blockade. A blockade is an act of war. Israel has been blockading Gaza since 2005. Therefore, in legal and in practical terms, Israel has made war on Gaza every day since 2005, even if you chose to accept their claim that they are no longer occupying it.

No, while I don't defend all of Hamas' actions, those actions are not what casts doubt on the two-state solution in the wake of 2005. Rather, the aggressive and spiteful behavior of Israel, the petty and cruel restrictions on trade and travel, the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, all add up to one inescapable conclusion: despite their protestations of wishing to separate from the Palestinians, Israel continues to exercise tyrannical control over the territory it has "withdrawn" from. Because it cannot defend itself militarily, Israel has crushed it economically, violates its borders whenever it wants, and is able to hold the population one small gradient above starvation for years at time.

Given this experience, how can a demilitarized state in the West Bank ever be an attractive prospect for the Palestinians? What's to prevent it from becoming Gaza 2.0? The resentment Israel feels at being forced out of Gaza is a candle of anger next to the bonfire of rage that will be unleashed by a West Bank pullout.

The current peace process assumes a Palestinian state will be demilitarized. Israel demands this. No other power can be trusted to secure Palestinian independence. So, basically, the proposed Palestinian state would be entirely dependent on the restraint, good judgement, and peaceable nature of Israel, in the face of a state arising next door to them on land a great majority of Jewish Israelis believe was promised them by God. The fate of Gaza after 2005 shows just how impractical such a scheme is.

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