Wednesday, January 23, 2008


It took explosives to do what diplomacy couldn't: allow Palestinians to go on a shopping spree. The siege of Gaza, imposed by Israel and the international community after Hamas seized control of the Palestinian territory last July, ended abruptly before dawn on Wednesday when militants blew as many as 15 holes in the border wall separating the territory from Egypt. In the hours that followed, over 350,000 Palestinians swarmed across the frontier, nearly one fifth of Gaza's entire population.
Thousands of Palestinians, the vast majority being collectively punished for the actions of a tiny minority made it over the wall today, some to shop, some never to return.

Those responsible for the largely ineffectual rocket attacks that Israel uses to justify the collective punishment of all Gazans are Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The extreme Islamist movement among Palestinians would never have gotten as far as it did in the Occupied Territories without the care and feeding of the Israeli government based on the crack brained idea that religious extremists would be easier to deal with then secular groups like the PLO they were intended to counterbalance. Now ordinary Palestinians suffer due to a situation sponsored from without.

For now at least, they have an escape hatch from their prison.

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