Gaza’s Future

In the LRB, Henry Siegman:

The breaching of the barrier between Gaza and Egypt by Gaza’s imprisoned population dramatised two fundamental realities about which Israeli and US policymakers have been in complete denial. First, that sooner or later Gazans would seek to break out of their open-air jail. That they have done so should be applauded not condemned. It would have been a sad comment on the human spirit had Gaza’s citizens surrendered to their fate.

Israel’s claim that the strangulation of Gaza was intended to provoke its population into overthrowing Hamas is absurd – and offensive. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the draconian restrictions imposed by Israel on Gaza’s civilian residents redirected against their Israeli tormentors what anger existed among them towards Hamas for its ideological rigidity and its refusal to halt rocket assaults on Israel. As recent opinion polls have found, the suffering caused by the Gaza closures produced greater solidarity not greater divisiveness. It even moved Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad to public displays of anger (however disingenuous) against Ehud Olmert’s government.