Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gaza: making an example or creating a model?

David Seaton's News Links
Most of the analysis that I am reading about the Gaza situation seems to ignore what for me the major fact: Gaza is not under Israeli control nor under the control of anyone who bows their head to Washington. That is a revolution.

Washington and Jerusalem would like to starve Gaza into submission, but in today's news environment that is not an option, so there will be bread and lentils. Gaza is not Beverly Hills, the Gazans are tough as boots.

The next idea is to shower beneficence on the West Bank to create support for Fatah, but experience tells us that the Fatah's leaders will steal most of it... That's why the party of Yassir Arafat lost the elections to Hamas in the first place. Fatah is divided and corrupt, that is why despite better weapons they were so easily routed by Hamas in the Gaza fighting.

Prediction: In Gaza, the first thing that Hamas
will do is install Sharia, which means orderly life in chaotic societies. They will clean up the streets, literally and figuratively. They will shoot the drug dealers and end price gouging in the markets. They will run the schools and the hospitals without stealing and before long the people of the West Bank will be longing to live like in Gaza, with honest leaders and no Israeli checkpoints or settlers. DS

World moves to support West Bank - BBC News Abstract: Hamas was and is boycotted because it does not accept the Quartet's conditions for engagement - recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of previous peace agreements. The aim is to revive the fortunes of President Abbas and Fatah (the main element in the PLO and once the arch-enemy of Israel but now seen as its negotiating partner) in the hope that he will be able to show that moderation is a better way forward for the Palestinians than extremism. The problem with this scenario is that it has been tried so often before and has failed because it has not delivered the state the Palestinians desire. The Israelis used to predict that moderate pro-Jordanian factions on the West Bank, the old families that prospered under King Hussein's rule there, would see off the radicals of Fatah. Now Fatah, rejected by Palestinian voters in January 2006 as corrupt and inefficient, is seen as the moderate grouping and the effort is on to push Hamas into a corner. The possibility now is that the West Bank will be favoured and Gaza be left to wither. At some stage, though, there will have to be new elections. These should show if the Western approach bears fruit.(...) Mouin Rabbani, senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, told Reuters: "My suspicion is that Gaza is going to come under an even stronger siege than before. "What the international community will try and do now is turn Gaza into hell while helping the West Bank, to show what you get when you elect people we like."(...) Israel itself has nearly $600m it owes the Palestinians from tax revenues and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is in Washington for talks with President George W Bush on Tuesday, says this will be released. Israel, he said, would "empower the moderates". The moderates will want more than direct cash aid. Mr Abbas wants greater freedom of movement on the West Bank, the release of Palestinian prisoners, especially the leading Fatah figure Marwan Baghouti, and beyond that, a new effort to get peace talks going. How far Israel goes in that direction remains to be seen.(...) Internationally there might be a policy divergence between the EU and the US. Washington might see in this the chance of trying to crush Hamas, and through that, to diminish one of its supporters, Iran.(...) But an EU official said: "The question is whether it is positive to distinguish between the good guys on one side, and the bad guys on the other. We want to avoid partition." Russia takes the same view. READ IT ALL


Anonymous said...

Will "installing Sharia" be universally accepted in Gaza?...Won't some Gazans object to the banning of internet cafes, alcohol, mixing of the sexes, etc.?...Do all Gazan women want to abide by strictly enforced dress covering requirements?

You keep talking about a democratically elected government...but what exactly is democratic about imposing all these restrictions without the consent of the electorate?

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

We are talking about what is known as "failed state" conditions, where there is no structure of impersonal public governance or impartial institutions, where armed gangs and clans dispute the street. Gaza had developed these Mogadishu-like characteristics.

In such a case the Sharia offers a portable public governance kit with a set of rules that have evolved in the community over centuries and whose rules are well known to all. With all its perceived rigidities it is surely superior to the arbitrary rule of a "strongman" and his clique who make up their "laws" as they go along.

As to democratically elected, anyone who voted Hamas voted Sharia and being Muslims they knew exactly what they were getting. In Mogadishu it was precisely the women who most supported the Islamic Courts, they preferred the strictures of the Sharia to being raped on an almost daily basis by the drugged gunmen of the clan warlords.