So while I was complaining about the cold last week in Jerusalem, Gazans were dealing with much bigger problems–lack of heat and supplies. And this week Hamas broke off a part of the wall separating Gaza from Egypt and Gazans have been streaming over the border to stock up on goods. Now Hamas looks good and the Fatah and Israeli governments look ridiculous. Egypt doesn’t seem to know what to do.
It’s good that the Gazans were able to get stocked up in Egypt, but I don’t think this let’s Israel off the hook in terms of dealing with feeding these people. I agree with a recent NY Times editorial that argues that if we don’t deal with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza the peace process could implode. The whole incident also points to the absurdity of trying to negotiate with the PA for a peace resolution while trying to seal off the other part of the Palestinian people and trying to starve them to make them go away. By blowing up the wall, it’s as if Hamas were saying, ‘And you thought you could just ignore us didn’t you?’
On the other hand, I worry this event, having boosted its popularity among beleaguered Palestinians, will spur Hamas to attack Israel–which it’s already trying to do. Defense officials say that Hamas is using the border opening to smuggle terrorists to Sinai and then try to send them from Sinai into Israel. Interestingly, or perhaps disturbingly, my school just came from the southern part of Israel and on Wednesday we drove along route 10, a road which runs very close to the Egyptian border. Now, I hear that they have banned schools from going to parts of the Negev and Arava. Holy crap.
I pray that all of the people we met in the Arava and Negev are safe and that the situation will get under control. This is just plain freakin’ bad.