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Time to seal Gaza border

Israel has much to gain from freeing itself of any responsibility for Gaza Strip

Avi Trengo Published: 06.11.10, 13:50 / Israel Opinion





Exactly three years ago, members of Hamas’ operational force hurled Fatah commanders in Gaza off 17-floor buildings. The fortunate ones managed to flee to Ramallah via Israel.




I met the Fatah members at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital, alongside an elderly couple from Sderot who sustained light wounds after miraculously surviving a direct Qassam hit on their home. The condition of the Fatah men was much graver: they were shot in the ankles at close range, as a form of revenge.

Hamas rendered Fatah disabled – a symbol of those who dare stand in the Islamic organization’s way. Meanwhile, back in Israel, the Olmert government was overjoyed: Just like in 1997, we and the Palestinians were again the “good guys” facing Hamas. Olmert immediately ordered the handover of half a billion shekels to the Palestinian Authority, “earmarked for Abbas supporters’ salaries.” The funds transferred to Gaza were characterized as “money that would topple Hamas.”



As part of the dualistic policy towards Gaza, the Erez Crossing remained open, while the Rafah Crossing remained closed. Yet the Spanish observers in Rafah were made to flee, and the video cameras that supposedly enabled Israel to monitor the crossing were disconnected. (Indeed, a state that equips its soldiers with paintball guns can believe that video cameras are a sufficient monitoring means for the Hamastan-Egypt border.)



The fact that Hamastan is an enemy state, rather than some group of outlaws, has not yet been internalized by Israeli decision-makers. Perhaps a look at the Hamas government’s budget will convince our officials: Four years ago, Hamas had about 3,000 combatants in Gaza who operated on a $3 million monthly budget. Today, Hamas completely controls the Strip, its official budget exceeds $500 million a year, and it pays the salaries of more than 30,000 activists.



Yet while years ago, some of Hamas’ budget was earmarked for supporting the population in order to boost the group’s popularity, these days there is no need to do so: The world along with the Palestinian Authority assumed the responsibility for providing for Gaza Strip residents. Meanwhile, the Palestinian bank governor said that ever since Hamas took power, roughly $5 billion dollars were transferred to Gaza via the Palestinian banking system. The time has come to ask: Could there be some kind of link between the money being poured into Gaza (which is seemingly facing a “blockade”) and Hamas’ ability to flourish there?



Moving to Africa

The realization that the blockade is over prompted the Egyptian government to open the Rafah Crossing. All Israel needs to do now is to get it too, and make it clear to the world that it no longer holds any responsibility towards Gaza. It may take a year or two to disconnect the Strip from Israel’s electricity grids and water pipes, yet the disengagement is already in place in respect to other goods.



The diesel fuel for Gaza cars, for example, currently gets there on trucks from Libya that pour it via pipes that pass right under the barrier built by Egypt on the Rafah border. (By the way, the American engineers who worked with the Egyptians on building the barrier apparently saw what’s happening; according to recent reports they left Egypt and returned to the US earlier than expected.)



Now, Israel needs to put the final stamp on the situation and announce the immediate closure of the Erez Crossing. The border with Gaza is not a peaceful border, and it should therefore be sealed off – nobody should come in and nobody should go out.



Meanwhile, Israel would make it clear to UN personnel that it has no responsibility for Gaza whatsoever. Any UN official who wishes to assist the Gaza poor will be hereby invited to move to the Egyptian town of El-Arish, in Africa. From there, one can enter Gaza via the Rafah Crossing. The time has come to end the good life of UN staff in Jerusalem hotels, which enable them to travel to Gaza by day and return to the pleasant Jerusalem at night.




It is this convenience perhaps that may have turned Gaza into such a popular destination for UN visits. After all, Israel is a modern Western state. Meanwhile, 600 people were murdered in Sudan the other week (a record number in the past two years – before that, hundreds of thousands were murdered.) However, UN and world representatives nonetheless focused their attention on Gaza.



So does the current convenience of reaching Gaza contribute to Israel’s isolation in the world? This is certainly not the only reason. However, based on my own familiarity with many of the people in question – diplomats, UN officials, and foreign journalists – I would not be surprised to see the closure of the Erez Crossing bringing the global interest to Gaza down to a minimum.


photo: Erez crossing, Gaza-Israel border :


Click to view image: '591538d7378d-erezcrossing.jpg'

Added: Jun-11-2010 
By: aydeo
In:
Middle East
Tags: Israel, gain, stop, responsibility, gaza
Views: 5578 | Comments: 24 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • The only humanitarian crisis with "Palestine" is that it's full of "Palestinians". Let them move in to Jordan or Egypt or if they're incapable of creating a functioning society on their own. It's not Israel's responsibility to take care of them.

    Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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  • Seal the border, fully open the Egyptian/Garza crossing. Let the Egyptians be their brethrens magmagnanimous big brother.

    Posted Jun-11-2010 By 

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    • Egypt's wall is twice as high as the joos, they know just how dangerous those residing in gazza are and for the most part want absolutely nothing to do with them.

      Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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  • shit they got a better boarder than American/Mexico line. I'm moving to Arizona

    Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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  • Ha ha, I'm sure the Diplomats would rather stay in nice Egyptian Hotels on the Sinai, bit of wreck diving after a hard day's work in Gaza.

    Israel created Gaza, it won't be that easy...

    Posted Jun-11-2010 By 

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    • how exactly israel created gaza??

      as i remember gaza was there long ago before the state of israel.

      the soviet union also "created" many states, so now russia should be responsible to all the countries serrounding it???

      do you find it reasnoble to deliver fuel,electricity and other stuff to an entity which wants your destruction and sends rockets upon you when ever have the chance.....??

      Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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    • Its chicken and egg on the rocket fire, as you well know
      Israel has been restricting access to Gaza to varying degrees long before the qassam was invented.

      Gaza as we know it was born out of th 1967 war, its a sore left over from that conflict, most of Gaza's population never chose to live there and still have key's to their homes in Israel. This is on top of the '48 refugees.
      Gaza was born out of Israel's creation, and Israel as the occupying power always had responsility for it.

      Because Isra More..

      Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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    • putting the responsibility of 1948/1967 wars only on israel/jews is to be blind to history.
      ALL this region had an equal share of responsibility.

      arabs massacred in much great numbers then jews ever did.

      israeli massacres during 50'-60' can be numbered in less then one hand. regarding arab massacres even 10 hands wont do.

      what you basicly say is that even AFTER israel evacuated its settelments from gaza (in a complex operation which cost millions and cuased a very intense inner stru More..

      Posted Jun-15-2010 By 

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    • This is why unilateral pull-outs are such a bad idea.
      And that's why sealing off Gaza is a bad idea as well.
      Kadima are a bunch of muppets.

      There's only one way, and that's live together under an equitable settlement accepted by the majority of both sides.

      BTW I didn't blame Israel exclusively for the wars, my point is that Israel is responsible LEGALLY as the occupying power, which it clearly still is, unless you going to argue that Gaza is free?

      Hamas have had made many mistakes for sure, More..

      Posted Jun-15-2010 By 

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  • That's what we have been calling for all this time, and relinquish control of their airspace and sea.

    Posted Jun-11-2010 By 

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  • Comment of user 'just_a_musing' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • About time. Maybe the US should do the same!

    Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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  • Build a big fucking wall arround the place, then gas the fuck out of it. And get it over with. Wipe them out and build nice holiday resort!

    Posted Jun-13-2010 By 

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  • Great piece! The truth is Gaza has plenty of hospitals, clinics, schools, universities AND FOOD!! Time to let them fend for themselves. The reality is when countries recieve aid it typically ends up being their achellies heal.

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    • And being dependent on American aid has most certainly been Israel's achilles heel.

      I mean that seriously, if it hadn't been, it would have been compelled to find a broader set of allies, giving it more security, plus it likely would have made more inroads regionally.

      Posted Jun-11-2010 By 

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    • Their economy is very strong and a lot of Wall Street people would argue with you otherwise, they could survive autonomously. They turned that land around from where when it was an abandoned and had long been population declines when the Turks ruled the area, Jerusalem was a ghost city. They turned that desert into an oasis by building aqueducts and expanding farming, the nomadic people of that area never could have done that. Population explodes and the nomadic people from surrounding arab coun More..

      Posted Jun-11-2010 By 

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    • In the very early days Israel had a wider friend group, European countries were very supportive, France gave Israel nuclear technology for example.

      1967 is the threshold, that's when Israel began to lose Intl support due to the Occupation. America was the only country really not to aggressively condemn it, although it doesn't accept it either.
      Israel obviously responded by getting closer to America to the detriment of its other relationships. This has left Israel looking dangerously isolated in More..

      Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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    • What, did you go there recently?

      You have no soul.

      Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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  • Tunnel smugglers black market buisness is HURTING with Egypt allowing goods to travel over the normal routes and sell goods at lower prices.

    just sayin

    Posted Jun-11-2010 By 

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  • Theres only an obesity crisis in Gazza....they all desperately need Jenny Craig!

    Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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  • like it would matter, islam will always find a reason to hate a joo and will murder any of their leaders who dare show tolerance or rational thinking about progressing as a culture.

    Posted Jun-12-2010 By 

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