Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why I Won't Do Foreign Policy; Part Infinity

When the border between Gaza and Egypt was blown up yesterday, Gazans streamed in from all over the territory to get supplies from Egypt that have been lacking in Gaza. In case you forgot, Hamas took over Gaza in summer and since then (because Hamas has sworn to wipe Israel off the map) Israel has maintained a rather tight watch on Gaza's borders.

This Winter, just after Peace talks between Israel and Palestinians at Annapolis and just before high level talks between Egypt and Israel, Egypt let open their border with Gaza. This pissed Israel off big time because of how carefully they've been monitoring Gaza's borders--it's all for naught if people know they can get in to Gaza no problem via Egypt.

Anyway, since the summer there's been a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. I don't flinch in using the term CRISIS, what is outrageous is that the media is using it so crazily right now when the issue has been ongoing since the summer.

You see (as I wrote here and here , while it was happening), Israel is in an impossible position because if it allows excessive supplies and food and whatever into Gaza this would avoid a humanitarian issue but it would also buttress a regime (Hamas) that has vowed to destroy Israel; not to mention that the Gaza government and economy is corrupt and plutocratic and most of these supplies would be hoarded by the people up top anyway. If, on the other hand, Israel only lets in a small amount of supplies and food and whatever then it not only begins a humanitarian crisis, it also provides Hamas with ample propaganda fodder: there goes Israel, persecuting us again, now it's a siege!

So Israel decided to go with the latter decision and it has taken some real media flack for it--and for good reason because people are truly suffering in Gaza.

Now, last week Israel tightened the border even more because of increased rocket attack from Gaza into neighboring Israeli towns like Sderot. This is what started the most recent media deluge of humanitarian crisis articles, which are really quite pathetic considering, as I said, the crisis has been ongoing for months!

Then, yesterday, the border is breached.

And here's why I would never mess around in Foreign Policy: no matter what Israel does at this point, they're totally screwed. I'm not saying the country's integrity is in danger or anything like that but the fact is that this war is primarily a media war and, at least in regards to Gaza, it has become increasingly difficult for Israel to establish a good-looking position in this affair.

I'm not even mentioning what this will do to Israeli-Egypt relations! Jeeze.

(For follow-up, here's the anti-Hamas editorial by the Washington Post.)