United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s recent visit to the Gaza Strip, and his expression of bewilderment and outrage at the peril of those blockaded within the small territory begs the question; what sort of Gaza would Israel find acceptable?
Military strikes against Gaza and its cross border tunnels, on which the Gazan economy has become dependent, have been renewed in recent weeks. Many children in Gaza suffer from malnourishment, which is known to cause stunted growth as well as stunted brain development. Combine this with the fact that many of the same children have no access to a remotely proper education and one has a recipe for the creation of a new generation of violent extremists; the central argument proponents of the blockade will put forth to begin with. However, we have all heard the statistics and arguments before and a few questions need to be raised about the dire nature of the situation. Only the future remains in question.
The fresh incursions into Gaza have also been reported to be in retaliation for new rocket attacks from Gaza. Today Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi addressed the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, and expressed the opinion that Hamas is not likely to be behind recent rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, as “Hamas was more interested in maintaining its rule over Gaza than escalating violence with Israel, since it would cause the collapse of the state of appeasement in Gaza and risk shuffling the deck in the Strip,”. However Ashkenazi eluded logic when he went on to assert that Hamas could do more to put an end to the attacks, using this as a justification for continued attacks on Hamas positions in Gaza, although he himself just spoke to dismiss assumptions that Hamas militants were the perpetrators of the attacks which incited Israeli military responses. This seems to mean that the Israeli method of encouraging the de facto powers in Gaza to control extremist activity would be bombing the facilities of the de facto powers which could aid the process of controlling delinquent militants.
In her recent address to the annual Policy Conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Israel to make difficult decisions in moving forward in the peace process, and indeed pointed out that the Gaza situation is unsustainable for Israelis or Palestinians. Unfortunately the Secretary did not provide any sort of details as to what a future Gaza might look like, nor did Prime Minister Netanyahu provide any details of what an acceptable Gaza would be to his government.
So the international community must pose this question to Israel; what kind of Gaza would be acceptable to you? The answer is long overdue.