The Gaza Wall goes down, hundreds of thousands flee captivity as the largest prison break in history enters day two!
Yesterday hundred of thousands of people fled the Gaza strip where they had been trapped by an Israeli imposed blockade and an Israeli built wall separating them from Egypt. Hamas secretly spent months planning and preparing for this, and four days after Israel began cutting back on energy deliveries to Gaza, they decided the time was right. Before dawn Hamas set off dozens of charges and toppled vast sections of the 30 foot hight steel barricade. Within hours hundreds of thousands of people were streaming out of Gaza, the handful of surprised Egyptian border guards not even trying to stem the flow.
What did these hundreds of thousands of people want? Freedom? A chance to live in Egypt? Nope. Most of them wanted to go shopping. Egyptian traders and store owners we only too happy to raise their prices and sell the Gazans anything they want, and the Gazans were only to happy to pay whatever it took to get supplies that were prohibitively expensive or unavailable in Gaza. So they streamed out, and streamed back in laden with food, mattresses, TVs, cigarettes, and just about anything that could be strapped to their backs or a donkey. Right now on day two the largest open air market in history is still thriving as Gazans continue to cross the border to shop, and enterprising Egyptians take full advantage of the situation.
What will happen now? Who knows. Some sort of border agreement between Gaza and Egypt is going to be have to be worked out. And that will involve Hamas, whether Israel likes it or not. Egypt is making sure that the Gazans can’t get to Cairo for their part. Israel offered to give Gaza to Egypt yet once again, which Egypt rejected without even having to think about it. If someone tried to hand you a live rattlesnake, would you take it? Of course not, and that Israel even made the offer shows how few options they have. And it is a problem, if the border remains completely open Israel could face far more serious weaponry in Gaza than home made rockets.
There’s a couple of important points to be made here, that of course will be ignored in the weird infotainment corporate media in the west. In fact this story, though of tremendous importance, is hardly even making the news in the USA at least. Fortunately Israel still has a free press and one can read about it there.
Basically this was a brilliant carefully planned move on the part of Hamas and shows once again how badly Israel’s militarists keeps underestimating their enemy. This wall toppling shows the kind of thinking that the west and Israel in their overconfidence almost never engage it. Might doesn’t make right, it makes people stupid. It’s brilliant on Hamas’s part because it will prove wildly popular with the Gazans, rather than talk about helping the people of Gaza this is about as concrete a step as could be imagined to help them. It’s also very clever in that there was nothing Egypt or Israel could do. If Egypt tried to stop this with force, it would give the Islamic brotherhood and other fundamentalists in Egypt fabulous propaganda. And of course Israel can’t do anything without re-occupying Gaza, something that would also further inflame anti-Israeli hostility.
So basically Israel’s attempt to “punish” Gaza in an attempt to end the rocket fire from there has been used by Hamas to strongly improve their situation politically, internationally, and militarily. Yes, militarily, donkey loads of fertilizer are also crossing back into Gaza, to be made into explosives by Hamas fighters. It also wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest though if Hamas declares a cease fire in the very near future. That would put even further pressure on Israel to negotiate with Hamas, and further erode Israel’s chosen Palestinian leadership support in the occupied territories.
And no, I don’t condone the Hamas rocket fire into Israel. However, a few things have to be kept in mind here. The first is that far more Palestinians are killed by Israeli fire than the reverse. I mean, Hamas rockets have killed a handful of Israeli civilians in the past few years, Israeli munitions have killed dozens for every Israeli that has died. And when Hamas does declare a cease fire and offer to negotiate, what is Israel’s response? Nothing. Israel has never declared a cease fire and routinely uses military force not only in the occupied territories, but in neighbouring sovereign countries as well. Claiming to want peace with one’s neighbours while constantly attacking them doesn’t sound like a road to peace to me. In fact the neighbours Israel is at peace with, Jordan and Egypt (you know, nations formerly devoted to the destruction of Israel, insert rolled eyes here) came to peace with Israel through negotiation, not IDF violence.
So I don’t know what’s going to happen here. I do know this is a very important event, and how Israel responds to it will set the tone in the region for years to come. It is an opportunity for talks that might lead somewhere, but more than likely the militarists who control Israel will continue moving forward with their failed strategy of trying to solve the problems in their occupied territories with violence, isolation, and propaganda. Israel says it cares about the people in the occupied territories, Hamas showed the world the difference between talking about helping people and actually helping them.
I did say this was going to be an interesting year, nu?
(The above image of Palestinians crossing the downed wall is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the story, and in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Credit: AP Photo/Kevin Frayer.)