Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gaza Palestinians For Neighbors, Not

The 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip want to become neighbors and have their own government alongside of Israel. To show their friendliness, they continually shot kassam rockets into Israel and kidnapped several Israeli soldiers. Yet they knew they were dependent on Israel since all its fuel and medical supplies have to come through Israel.

Naturally, when shelling started from Gaza, Israel was forced to close all of its border crossing sites with Gaza. After all, the Islamist Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, not an exactly friendly thing to do when one wants to move into the neighborhood. This included the Rafah terminal which lies on the border with Egypt that bypasses Israel.

80% of this future Palestinian state depends on foreign aid. They have not come up with the wherewithall to support themselves to any degree as yet. Right now they are living in poor conditions. They have spent much time fighting over who is the supreme ruler of Palestinians, the Fatah group who was in power, or the Hamas group who were supported by Iran. Fatah of course has won in this Gaza Strip.

Israel will continue to supply electricity and water to the people there for humane reasons. Palestinians have enough food in grocery stores to last for several weeks. With all the internal killings going on, Palestinians need a steady supply of blood, which was running low as of yesterday. Early in the week blood was brought in from Ramallah.

Israel said it was ready to supply humanitarian aid there. They wonder who will accept the delivery of such aid on the Palestinian side as at present they know of no one. The takeover by Hamas presents problems as Israel will have no dealings with these radicals who want to kill them, so they have no one to coordinate the border crossings.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat stated that the international community should make sure that no harm comes to these people and that their situation does not worsen. John Ging, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, commented that not only do they need aid but also commercial trade comes through the crossings that are now closed.

One would have thought that for people so dependent on Israel for so many things, they would have shown more neighborliness when preparing for statehood. Fatah is the group that refuses to have peace with Israel and they now rule. Palestine will have to remain on the back burner.

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