I am going to take the liberty of passing along Hillel Schenker’s comment to an Israel_Palestine list member with a copy to me which explains at least one reason for the breakdown in Palestinian relations in Gaza (and now the West Bank generally).  Needless to say there is also outside manipulation there in the form of withholding by the U.S. and Israel of funding and a blockade of basic supplies (food and medicine) to the suffering population of more than a million civilians squeezed into some 13 square miles.  Israel may further shut Gaza down by halting its supplies of electricity and water that come from Israel. One hopes that humanitarian conditions will somehow be restored there before the deaths of children and ill people cut off from from food and medical services begin to mount radically.  I have already noted that the Mother from Gaza who had returned there recently has just managed to escape with her family:

http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/

Note the capacity of outsiders to disassociate themselves from the suffering.  Some care; some do not!  Here is Hillel’s profile:

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/hillel_schenker/profile.html

and his comment 6/14/07.  There are, perhaps, some wider lessons to be learned from it?

Just got back from a very complex but valuable Israeli-Palestinian-European dialogue in Florence this morning.

The answer is relatively simple, and it was mentioned by both Israelis and Palestinians at the conference.  If Sharon had negotiated the withdrawal from Gaza with Mahmoud Abbas, rather than carrying it out unilaterally, it would have given Abbas and Fatah an achievement, and might have prevented the election of Hamas in the elections.  Since Sharon refused to do that, Hamas used the unilateral withdrawal to claim that it was its military action rather than Abbas’ recognition of Israel and readiness to negotiate with it, which led to the Israeli withdrawal.  They were able to paint themselves as heroes, and Abbas as ineffectual.  As one Palestinian at the conference put it – instead of handing over the keys of Gaza to Abbas, the Israelis threw the keys into the street, and Hamas picked them up.

Yours,
Hillel

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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