Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Daoud Kuttab - “We are all Gaza”: West Bank protests Israeli Brutality, Divide & Rule Tactics
and the West Bank are one political entity
The admission was buried deep in a long drawn out analysis by
leading columnist. Nahum Barnea revealed that one of the yet to be declared
results of the war on Gaza is the
realization that the attempts to separate Gaza
from the West Bank has failed.
While the focus of discussion in various regional and world capitals has been on lifting the siege on
and specifically the opening up of the Rafah crossing with Egypt,
another crossing point is coming to focus now.
If in fact this idea is truly internalized by the various Israeli political and military elements, we might be seeing the beginnings of the accomplishment of one of the basic tenants of an independent Palestinian state. The unity of the Palestinian territory is essential to fulfill the requirement for “contiguity” when it comes to the ability of movement between
Gaza and the West
Bank. The safe passage road between the northern Gaza
borders and the Tarqumia crossing south of Hebron
was talked and has been detailed in great details in the Oslo Accords. A
further attempt to further discuss the movement of persons and goods between
the two Palestinian areas was hammered out in US-Israeli and -Palestinian
discussions under the leadership of former US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
But all that talk and all those agreements failed as
implemented a fool-hearted and reckless policy to separate Gaza
from the West Bank. It is not clear what the Israeli
strategists were hoping for, but what has resulted in the radicalization of the
Gaza Strip and its equipping with long range rockets, was certainly not on
those Israeli strategists’ agenda.
It is a given that when a vacuum is created it is quickly filled up by someone else. The radicalization of
brought further isolation which pushed the Islamist movement further and
further into militancy as the sole path to bringing about true freedom and
The success of
and its international (US) and regional ( Egypt)
allies to deny Hamas any political footing almost worked. It brought the
movement to its knees as funding was stopped and the Egyptian-Gaza tunnels were
destroyed by the newly anti-Islamist pro-military president of Egypt.
But the very fact of pushing Hamas into a corner politically and financially
played into the hand of the militant wing of the movement.
erroneously blamed Hamas for the kidnapping and killing of three Israelis
settlers and began a campaign against the movement in the West Bank
and Gaza, the militants reacted to
defend the movement. When this current war on Gaza
ends, a number of issues will have to be revisited, amongst them the long term
status of the nearly two million Palestinians who still call Gaza
home. The eight-year-old crippling siege can’t continue nor can the people of Gaza
continue to live under the uncertainty that has resulted in three wars within
While a major economic effort is needed for the Gaza Strip, the most important change that is required is an end to the attempts to separate Palestinians from their brothers and sisters in the occupied
Bank. Sure, Israel
will insist on security arrangements, but the idea that the entire people of Gaza
will be treated as a single militant group that one can’t negotiate with is
unacceptable. Perhaps the changes will require a much bigger role for the
Ramallah-based Palestinian government.
The fact that Hamas and the PLO have agreed on a unity government headed by Rami Hamdallah, will make the transition easier. Parliamentary and presidential elections slated for next December will need to be held in order to have a legitimate governing body for the state of
Palestine. Accomplishing physical connectivity between Gaza
and the West Bank, however, is only a step towards the
fulfilling the aspirations of all Palestinians: an independent and contiguous
Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,
and living in peace with Israel.
Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and former professor of journalism at
. Princeton University