Gaza situation, whose responsibility is it?

Palestinians have bulldozed down part of the Gaza-Egypt border wall again, hours after Egyptian troops blocked holes recently made by militants

The situation in Gaza is a sign that in politics humanitarian issues are set aside when political interests are of paramount importance. Palestinians have been subjected to collective punishment because of political differences between Hamas and the Israeli government. But it isn’t an excuse to deprive them of the basic necessities like fuel which is of paramount importance in emergency cases like ambulances and operating rooms in hospitals.

Concerning the attitude of Egypt which has started to seal off its borders with Gaza, this shows that Arab “brotherhood” is only a slogan eloquently repeated in forums and Arab conferences. It remains a description on paper. On the ground, there are political matters that come first. So to paraphrase the old proverb, good fences make good brothers. Arab borders aren’t easily open even in times of peace. While the Palestinians in Gaza are met with hundreds of Israeli checkpoints when they try to move into Israel, now in Egypt they are “welcome” by their Egyptian brothers with electric batons, live shots , and water canons.

Egypt is also ready to see the Palestinians plunged into their own troubles in their own territories rather than on its own. The risk for the Egyptian government is that when the Gazans will overstay their welcome in Egypt and become a political force, directly influencing the ordinary Egyptians who will lead demonstrations in their support, demonstrations that can go out of hand. Perhaps Egypt doesn’t want to have Palestinian camps similar to those in Lebanon. In other words Egypt doesn’t want an Israeli raid on its soil should militants from these supposed camps enter Gaza from Egypt to attack Israel and then return to their camps.

Also it isn’t in the interest of Hamas that the majority of Palestinians flock into Egypt and stay there. This will be advantageous to Israel, which will find it easy to surround Hamas forces and politicians. At least these look stronger when surrounded by huge crowds carrying Hamas green flags in a show that looks more a parade than anything else with speeches full of woes and hopes for a better day.

If there is a commitment by Egypt to strop arms getting into Gaza from its territories, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza can end overnight. Rich Gulf states can provide these territories with sufficient amount of fuel and food while the logistic task should be carried by the Egyptians.

The USA is unlikely to put any pressure on Israel at these times of the race for presidency. The international community is used to the frequent strident measures by the Israelis towards the Palestinians either in the form of massive killings as it was in Sabra and Shatilla in Lebanon or in Jennin or in the summer of 1996. Israel seems to be a winner as Fatah (Hamas’s rival) didn’t break off ties with it. The Israelis have a lot of ground to manoeuvre while Hamas and its supporters around the world have a lot of words to condemn the Israeli actions.

There can be different ways to put and end to the humanitarian crisis although the political stalemate is certain to last for years. Starving a whole population isn’t an effective weapon to eradicate radicals among the Palestinians. They are used to hardship of all sorts. But adding the ordinary people to pay for political differences between two irreconcilable sides is an act unacceptable to those with political sense.

As the situation in this region is very complicated, solving it remains problematic. Ironically, what is taking place in Gaza doesn’t stir anyone to take responsibility but to find excuses to shake off all responsibilities!

Listen to part of BBC World Have Your Say on Gaza crisis:

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  1. Ayrshire Blog said,

    February 8, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Hi Abdelilah I am just stopping by to say hello and makew sure your still blogging. I’ll be back soon for a fuller read

  2. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    February 8, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Ayrshire. Thanks so much for your greeting.
    Unfortunately i slowed my blogging last month. I hope I’ll have enough time for further blogging.
    Once again thanks so much.

  3. Ayrshire Blog said,

    February 8, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Abdelilah, I had a quiet spell a month back where I wasn’t posting much. Real life catches up sometimes doesn’t it?


  4. Looney said,

    February 9, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Abdelilah, I too have enjoyed your thoughtful posts and hope to see more when you have more time.

  5. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    February 9, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks Looney for your support. I will do my best to continue posting.

  6. Abdelilah Boukili said,

    February 9, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Surely Bunc. Time flies when there is so much to do!
    Thanks to your blog I got to know Looney. He’s a great guy. I hope you enjoy his blog as much as I do.

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