Buttu says that from the day the Israelis withdrew from Gaza, they set about ensuring that it would fail economically. "When the Israelis pulled out, we expected that the Palestinians in Gaza would at least be able to lead some sort of free life. We expected that the crossing points would be open. We didn't expect that we would have to beg to allow food in," she said.
Buttu notes that even before Hamas was elected three years ago, the Israelis were already blockading Gaza. The Palestinians had to appeal to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and James Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank, to pressure Israel to allow even a few score of trucks into Gaza each day. Israel agreed, then reneged. "This was before Hamas won the election. The whole Israeli claim is one big myth. If there wasn't already a closure policy, why did we need Rice and Wolfensohn to try to broker an agreement?" asked Buttu.
Yossi Alpher, a former official in the Mossad intelligence service and an ex-adviser on peace negotiations to the then prime minister, Ehud Barak, said the blockade of Gaza is a failed strategy that might have strengthened Hamas. "I don't think anyone can produce clear evidence that the blockade has been counterproductive, but it certainly hasn't been productive. It's very possible it's been counterproductive. It's collective punishment, humanitarian suffering. It has not caused Palestinians in Gaza to behave the way we want them to, so why do it?" he said. "I think people really believed that, if you starved Gazans, they will get Hamas to stop the attacks. It's repeating a failed policy, mindlessly."
On This Blog: Israel disdained the latest truce offered by Hamas
Treating Palestinians and Arabs in contempt and dealing only with those among them who are submissive, extracting from them humiliating concessions while continuing to expand illegal settlements, taking more land, more from Jerusalem, more from this, and more from that, one may wonder what are Israel and the US, the mightier, gaining with this strategy ? The rage of those who are weaker ? Their defeat ? No, not only this. What we are witnessing with this strategyis the progressive transformation, with frightening meticulousness, of a situation that could be potentially negociated into an explosive, unmanageable one.The intentional derailing of peace in the ME.