Meanwhile in the West Bank conditions are very different: The West Bank is experiencing a 7% economic growth rate, declining unemployment, growing tourism and a wage increase of 24% this year. Read Bloomberg’s analysis of the West Bank economy here. One wonders why the West Bank is prospering and Gaza is not? The answer lies in who governs Gaza. There is no Hamas in the West Bank, and the West Bank isn’t firing rockets into Israel or threatening Israel. See Ambassador Oren’s article about the West Bank here. For a comprehensive report on both the West Bank and Gaza go here. The same prosperity could occur in Gaza as well if Hamas agreed to cease hostilities and work with Israel like Fatah is doing. That is not likely.
There has been an attempt by many organizations around the world over the past year to establish the appearance of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Even US based organizations, like JStreet, have convinced members of Congress that this is true.
It is not true.
The bottom line is that there is no lack of goods going into Gaza. Each week the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes the amount of aid transferred into Gaza. See a comprehensive report here and a weekly update here.
Israel agrees that there is a humanitarian crisis, but it is not due to lack of goods entering Gaza, its the fact that Gaza is ruled by a terrorist organization.
Look back to 2005, Israel withdrew completely allowing the Palestinians to decide on their own how to govern.
In 2007 Hamas expelled Fatah moderates in a bloody battle (good reference here.) and began attacking Israeli towns with rocket barrages.
From 2007 to 2009 literally thousands of rockets rained down on civilian territories (see detailed stats here). In response, Israel along with Egypt, imposed a naval blockade. For an interesting perspective from Egypt go here.
The other nations in the area are wary of radicals like Hamas infiltrating and gaining a political foothold in their country and destabilizing the state so in practice they agree with Israel – yet the public rhetoric is always anti-Israel. Though Egypt has since left its border with Gaza open (though I’m not sure what “open” really means) I believe that soon they will resume their own blockade once public attention drifts.
The bottom line is that Israel, along with Egypt, wants to ensure that Hamas cannot arm itself. Why? Because if Hamas resumes its attacks against Israel, then Israel will retaliate and the Gazans will seek refuge in Egypt – and Egypt does not want to support that population. To see an Arab blogger’s political analysis re: Egypt 2009, go here. Go here to see where Egypt opens fire against Gazans in 2009. Go here and here to see how Egypt deals with the Gazans in 2010. I am curious why the international community makes no criticism of Egypt, only of Israel? (Not really!)
With the above information and analysis Israel is clearly justified and is acting morally both in defense of its own citizens and in providing aid to the Gazans. But it does beg the question – where is the Arab support of Palestinians?
They pledge millions but never deliver.
The bottom line is that the residents of Gaza do not suffer from a lack of essential goods or medical supplies. The press has been complicit with Hamas in attempting to present a picture of humanitarian need in Gaza when none, in reality, exists.