Monday, June 07, 2010

After the Gaza Blockade Fiasco,

a New Approach to Hamas?

Blocked by the Israeli navy, Palestinian fishermen linger in the port of Gaza City on June 5, 2010 Hatem Moussa / AP

Jun. 07, 2010 Israel's siege of Gaza, having failed to achieve its primary objective of toppling the Hamas regime, may be drawing to a close. In the wake of last week's aid-flotilla debacle, the Israelis have been told by the U.S. and its allies that it is untenable for Israel to continue blocking a wide range of basic economic commodities from entering Gaza. Instead, the policy discussion is shifting toward finding ways to open the border crossings into Gaza while keeping out weapons. On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden met with Egypt's President, Hosni Mubarak, in search of new solutions "to address the humanitarian, economic, security and political aspects of the situation." Egypt last week reopened the Rafah crossing into Gaza, with a security official telling the Associated Press that it would remain open indefinitely because the blockade had failed.

The Gaza blockade's purpose, of course, was never simply to prevent Hamas from rearming; it was designed to topple the movement from power. From the moment Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006, Israel — with the support of the U.S. and other Western powers — began to restrict Gaza's economic lifeline to the outside world. Continued

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