Borderline Theatrics at Gaza's Wall

[Cox News/News and Observer-Raleigh, NC] Tom Teepen - Gazans poured through by the thousands when Hamas blew up the barrier on the Egypt-Gaza border on Jan. 23. The stampede was something of a PR coup for Hamas. Arab media tended to portray the event as the act of a hungry and desperate people, victims of an inhumane Israeli political blockade. And here and there in the West, perpetually Palestinian-dazzled commentators fell for the scam, too. But there were a few things wrong in those reports. The Gazans weren't starving. Most who rushed into Egypt were buying cheap cigarettes and food for profitable resale back home. Israel has allowed in measured food shipments and essential fuel and electricity. And the blockade has been enforced both by Israel and Egypt under a negotiated 2005 agreement and has broad international support, a reaction to Hamas' de facto coup after Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza. Thus do the Palestinians once again get indulgent sympathy rather than progress toward their own state. Has ever a people with genuine needs and legitimate ambitions been so ill-led for so long by so many as the Palestinians have been? And been misled so willingly? Israel has been trying to cut a deal with its region ever since 1948. It has tried to barter land for peace since its neighbors ganged up on it in the 1967 war. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza and got in return only rocket attacks. The interests of the Palestinians have been held hostage all along to militants' demand that no outcome is acceptable that doesn't destroy Israel. The political theatrics at the Gaza-Egyptian border are just another in a long line of destructive distractions that the Palestinians celebrate as victories.

2008-02-15 01:00:00

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