This post has been a long time coming. Ever since last December actually, where I've given hints of it on my twitter account. I just never got around to writing it, but today is as good a day as any I guess. So there goes it: I think it's time to lift the trade blockade off of Ghaza.
Ok, before you say what you are going to say, I know. I know. Hamas is still in control, and they were voted in by the Palestinian people, and Yeah yeah yeah. Chill out, and listen, ok? And if by the end of this, it doesn't make sense to you, feel free to tell me how much of an idiot I am in the comments section (otherwise, where is the fun, right?). Agreed? Ok, let's go.
Ever since Hamas was voted into power in Ghaza as a protest vote against Fatah (the same reason why the MB won so many seats in the Egyptian parliamentary elections), and democracy in the Palestinian territories has suffered a major blow. The blow became a full on gushing head wound the moment Hamas started its coup, and kicked the Fatah people out, create what got immediately dubbed Hamastan. And ever since that day, the blockade went up and stayed up, and some of us, including me, cheered, thinking it was a fitting punishment for big bad Hamas, and that soon enough there would be a second election, I even hoped for an open revolt, where the Palestinian people would throw out Hamas from power on its fat Jihady ass. In the throngs of our self-righteous indignation and punishment, we forgot that Hamas, now that it is in power, was going to do what every islamist organization in power would do: Destroy the democratic institutions that brought them there, and clamp down to solidify their power big time. And that's what they did.
Stories started trickling out from Ghaza: Hamas beating and arresting Fatah supporters or member, Hamas breaking into the houses of ex Fatah supporters and seizing the weapons there, Hamas stopping the sales of Alcohol all over the Ghaza strip, Hamas demanding control over reporters and what they report, Hamas trying to enforce law and order Islamic style. And as the blockade intensified, and the people got really hungry, Hamas started being the big daddy figure: Every aid shipment would get seized by them and distributed by them; the rest of the food and guns that would get smuggled into Ghaza would do so in tunnels controlled by Hamas, and thus placing more of people's livelihood in their hands. Slowly, but surely, a picture started being drawn: Hamas was surviving, and are using the blockade to make the people- who had no choice thanks to the blockade- more dependent on them. In essence, the anti-Hamas world managed to give Hamas every tool it ever needed to survive, and even strive, with donations coming in from all over the world to "save Ghaza", which, as you can guess by now, went into Hamas' pockets, and some of which back into the hands of the Palestinian population to buy support. Still, the big hope was the upcoming elections, which-even though there was very little hope of having it being realistically democratic at this point- would have such a public outpouring of voters who want change that they would kick Hamas out of Power. Hamas, knowing this, refused to renew and broke the ceasefire before the election with a month, and the rest is history.
Now, given the history and the current political climate in Ghaza, it is safe to say that democracy is dead, and that Hamas is instituting a theocracy. In other words: an Islamist dictatorship, just like the one in Sudan, or Iran or the one that sparked the civil war in Algeria (Not as bad as Afghanistan yet, mind you). And since this is the case, then the people in Ghaza should receive the same kind of sympathy and support that we give to people who are forced to live under Islamist dictatorships, because like it or not, this is the current reality in Ghaza.
Now, as I previously mentioned, the siege has helped entrench the islamist dictatorship in Ghaza, because there is no private market for goods. Without a private market for goods, there are no independent economic power centers. Independent economic power centers are important because they will finance dissent movements. If your livelihood is dependent on Hamas, you know that you can't dissent, or you won't get to eat. But if food is readily available in the market separately from them, and if the economic conditions are well and good, then people will be dissenting more in the open. The people wouldn't accept the islamist bullshit restrictions that Hamas placed on their lives. They will have the funds to run counter propaganda campaigns and form underground opposition groups, they will money to buy weapons to resist the theocracy that took away their freedom, and put them all a hostage in the high stakes political game that was the last Ghaza war.
So, in essence, if you want to get rid of Hamas, you don't use aerial bombings, you don't use IDF ground incursions, and you don't place an economic blockade. What you do is 1) lift the siege of Ghaza , 2) with the condition that fair, internationally monitored elections be held 3 months after the blockade is lifted. Just give the Ghaza two months of free trade and non-Hamas dependence, and I guarantee you will see open and visible opposition against Hamas in the streets.
Some of you are naturally skeptical, and will think that I am overestimating the amount of hatred in the Ghaza strip against the Hamas rule, but I am not. Fine, don't believe me: Check this poll out by Ynet news:
In Gaza, the poll put Hamas at 28 percent against 33.6 percent for Abbas' Fatah.
And if that's not good enough, since Ynet are lying Zionist jews, how about one conducted by the Palestinian center for Public Opinion, where:
(40.6 %) are in favor of Fateh, (31.4 %) of Hamas.
(51.3 %) of the Palestinians are of the opinion that Hamas is navigating the country towards the wrong direction, (46 %) believe Fateh is doing that.
Hamas has lost the public opinion war. In a fair election they would be out on their asses. But no fair elections could take place in Ghaza under the current conditions. Empower the people of Ghaza to have an economic base and resiliency to stand up to the thugs in charge, help them get their democracy back, and I assure you that Hamas would be done with politically before 2010. And hey, if you are having security concernes, don't allow the people to travel out as long as Hamas is in power. Just allow goods to come in. Just allow the Ghazans to live, so that they can tell Hamas to fuck off forever.
Your other alternative is the current masturbatory exercise called the "ceasefire brokerd by the Egyptian government". The best case scenario would entail Hamas and Fatah joining up in some stupid totalitarian fated to fail "unity government", which will fall apart sooner or later and the current scenario will repeat itself. Or, in the worst case scenario, such a unity government succeeds, and you can kiss democracy in Ghaza and the Palestinian territories goodbye forever. After all, we would have a national unity government, why would there need be any elections anymore? And the bonus? Hamas would stay in power forever. How good does that sound?
Since neither one of those last two options sounds even remotely pleasant to me, let's stick to what works: Lift the economic blockade on Ghaza immedietly, under the conditions that a fair and internationally monitored elections would take place anywhere between 3 to 6 months, during which a ceasefire would be held. Parliamentary elections would be held first, followed by Presidential elections. Even if Hamas cheats, we would've provided with the Ghaza residents with enough economic power and money to start an effective resistence against Hamas, something they can't do at all under the current conditions. Oh, also there is the whole looking humanitarian thing and lifting the suffering of the Palestinian people, which can't be a bad PR move for Egypt or Israel at this point. It won't hurt, at least.
What do you think? Who is with me?