Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007 Gaza Crisis Study Guide

Here's my little 2007 Gaza Crisis Study Guide. Three things worth discussing on this blog or among friends:

--Who comes out looking better here? Fatah looks to be the major underdog, considering they got beaten down by Hamas and are currently accepting American aid. Israel has closed the checkpoints in/out of Gaza, which means there will soon be a food and medical crisis there. If Israel allows material in, it will (a) be the right thing to do as far as humanitarianism and basic human compassion is concerned; (b) give Israel points in Palestinian perspectives--and the world's eye--as perhaps not completely evil; but will also (c) help Hamas get settled, thereby basically assisting its most fundamental enemy. And Hamas gets to make fun of the US for going against democracy (Hamas was democratically elected) but now finds itself with more power than it has traditionally been used to. Also, many of its most effective techniques--political, social, and militaristic--have relied on being the underdog, on being one with the people. Now that they are officially and 100% in charge of Gaza, will they react in line with their stated goals?

--What does the US do? It has just unlocked huge funds for the Palestinians, showing support for Abbas's Fatah government. But in so doing it (a) condones a Palestinian group that hasn't always been the most compliant with US's desires and (b) completely contradicts the fundamental premise for the Bush Administration's foreign policy of the past 7 years--that democracy must be established all over the world.

--Of course, numerous unanswerable moral issues: How does the UN justify giving aid to a government with explicitly stated deadly goals while otherwise serving the world to maintain peace. In other words, there are civilians in Gaza that undoubtedly require essential materials but by giving it to them the UN is effectively recognizing and accepting Hamas's position of leadership. Also, how long can Israel refuse Palestinians basic materials once they start starving? Which is the more pressing? Individual (in this case thousands of individuals) and civilian life or state security? When should state policy--especially issues like embargo, for which civilians suffer far more than leaders--change due to sheer human loss?

--Most importantly, what now?