Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Egyptian takeaway!

Absolutely brilliant - Gazans locked into the Strip with borders closed and no supplies coming through have simply blown up the border with Egypt in order to cross and get food and fuel.

Surely it's outrageous collective punishment to starve and deprive a population to try to force a submission, in this case the end of rockets aimed at Israeli towns. But I suppose it's not unusual behaviour - medieval sieges, the teacher telling the class that it's no skin off his nose and they will sit there all night unless the kid who said the rude word owns up.

What happened to the Ehud Olmert who recently said he had feeling for Palestinians' suffering, stuck in wretched refugee camps? This time he said he sure as hell wasn;t going to let the Gazans have "comfortable and pleasant lives" as qassam rockets fall on Israeli towns. Which Gaza was he referring to? Gaza-sur-Mer near Monaco? Bad Lahiya, the German spa town? The pleasure dome of 'Kubla' Khan Younis? The Rafah Hotel with its fine Singapore Slings?

Israel is clearly not amused by the rockets - and who would be? What can you do with the people firing them? There's broad sympathy for Israel on this and they havea carte pretty much blanche to launch air and ground strikes, trash the place and if they slice a few civilians to bits in the process, well, the world doesn't mind too much.

Simply to cut the entire place off is pretty crass though. Even the Israeli press thinks so.

So what now? Will the border be rebuilt? Maybe Israel will take the opportunity to close all crossings between it and Gaza, cutting the Pals off once and for all and bringing the separation between West Bank and Gaza a step closer.

Who knows. I hope my friend Abed and his family get down there in their battered old white Renault, stroll across the border and breathe some non-Gaza air for a few minutes. Not being able to leave a 45 sq km strip of land for years and years puts a lot of pressure on your soul...

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