End the siege, negotiate with Hamas, tolerate unarmed demonstrations. There are many other ways Israel can deal with the reality in Gaza.
Over the past few days, I have spoken to a number of Israelis on both the right and the left who have some serious, fundamental questions about what is happening in Gaza. This article is meant to try and answer some of those questions.
What do you want us to do?
First of all, end the siege. The protests and killing in Gaza did not start yesterday, and they won’t end tomorrow. People there live in the world’s largest open-air prison, in a territory that the UN has said will soon become uninhabitable. Israel prevents Gazans from exporting goods to Palestinians in the West Bank and to Israel itself, or even to work in Israel — Gaza’s main source of income for decades — when Israel still directly controlled the Strip and prevented its economic development.
Gaza’s residents live with hardly any electricity, with almost no running water, with skyrocketing unemployment rates. Meanwhile, they are unable to reunite with their relatives in the West Bank or travel abroad to study. Israel systematically destroys farmers’ crops near the border (yes, just like the burning kites protesters send over the border, only on a much larger scale), prevents fishermen from traveling out to sea, instead killing them and confiscating their boats.
Israel also severely restricts the possibility of bringing building materials into the Gaza Strip, making it difficult to rehabilitate the Strip following the 2014 war, while preventing residents there from establishing 3G cellular and Internet infrastructure.
Yes, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas also share responsibility for the situation. But Israel effectively controls the region, and it can change the situation dramatically, if only it lifted the siege.
It can be done safely. The defense establishment offers tools to remove the blockade in such a way that will not allow weapons into the Gaza Strip. European countries are willing to invest money to develop a system that checks everything coming out of Gaza, in order to make sure that no explosives are brought into Israel. The crossings are still under Israeli control, with all that entails in terms of security. Giving people the opportunity to work, export goods, and travel abroad will only do good for both the Palestinians and Israel. As long as this...Read More