Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gaza disengagement

From one of my favourite news sources on Palestine - electronic Intifada - comes this view of the 'disengagement' as seen from Gaza: a victory for Palestinians, tempered with the knowledge that disengagement from Gaza is intended to further entrench settlements in the West Bank, that Gaza represents only 1.6% of historic Palestine and has never been of any strategic or biblical importance to Israel and - perhaps most depressingly - that the real motivation for disengagement is the desire to redress Israel's 'demographic problem'. Disengagement cuts off 1.3 million Palestinians from Israel's responsibility at the cost of removing only 8,000 of the 400,000 illegal settlers in the Occupied Territories. As a consequentialist I am pleased; as a deontologist, I cannot help but think of this as ethnic housekeeping.

If Abbas is planning a swift round up of all known terrorists, he is likely to lose all credibility with the Palestinians. This is because Abbas has been visibly aligning himself with the popular martyr theory. Last week, banners waved across Gaza proclaiming that “The blood of martyrs has led to liberation.” Then, Abbas attended Friday prayers at Caliph Mosque, where the imam announced, “Allah knows that when we offer up our children, it is much better than choosing the road of humiliation and negotiation.” Additionally, the PA’s official radio station - Ramallah Voice of Palestine - continues to broadcast messages that Israelis “want neither a solution nor peace.” These statements are synonymous with those of Hamas, and the Palestinians are listening.
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