By Chris Hedges
Aug. 20, 2007
Gaza has become the Sarajevo of the Middle East. Israel, in an action similar to that of the Serbs in Bosnia, has surrounded and cut off nearly a million and a half Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the Islamic militant group Hamas took control in June. Electric fences and watch towers manned by Israeli soldiers keep the Palestinians trapped inside the strip. The land and sea blockade, the halting of all but minimal humanitarian aid and the refusal to allow Gaza to receive financial support are crushing Gaza’s industry, farming and infrastructure.
The tactic is clear: Israel and the United States will strangle Gaza by cutting off all money and goods, including fuel and most food, to reduce one of the most densely populated places on the planet to an impoverished ghetto. Hunger and anarchy, they hope, will motivate Gazans to turn on Hamas, and the anarchy will perhaps be used to justify a reoccupation by the Israeli military and see the return of the quisling President Mahmoud Abbas, who was ousted after he led an abortive coup to overthrow the democratically elected Hamas government. He is now in the West Bank.
The Bush administration has, in an effort to bolster the credibility of Abbas, promised to provide his government with $190 million in aid and $80 million in security assistance. And the Israeli prime minister has traveled to Jericho to tout Abbas as a partner for peace.