Opposition fighting in the wrong direction
February 17, Moran Avital, Gisha’s Advocacy Coordinator, writes for Haokets website about a strange paradox: while the outgoing Israeli government slowly removed travel restrictions on the Gaza Strip, some on the Israeli left express support for the complete separation of Gaza from Israel and the West Bank.
From the op-ed:
"… Even if we decide to ignore this plan’s [to separate Gaza from Israel and the West Bank] chance of success, there is still one question which the debate should focus on – what does Israel have to gain by preventing Gaza -West Bank access? Would this hermetically sealed border weaken Hamas? Would it really provide a “quiet space”, as Gershon Baskin puts it, for negotiations with Abu Mazen? These suggestions are ultimately just more of the same 'solution' that Israel uses today. For the past five years, Israel has imposed sweeping travel restrictions on the Gaza Strip – not counting a few measures taken to negligibly ease the movement of goods and people between Gaza and the West Bank – with the intent of weakening Hamas or making it pay for its policy. Five years of closure has not prevented Qassam rockets from being fired at Israel, created a “quiet space”, or weakened Hamas. In fact, this policy has accomplished the exact opposite because internationally, it was considered capricious, not essential to Israel's security needs and as collective punishment of Gaza’s residents. The easing of restrictions since the summer of 2010 has made Gaza more open to the world, but in terms of travel between Gaza and Israel and the West Bank, the restrictions remain almost entirely unchanged.
The full op-ed (Hebrew)