Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Palestinian 'Gridlock'?

Abbas cannot prove himself by making the trains run on time, but he is going to show Gazans that he is the man by connecting more areas of Gaza to Egypt's electricity grid:
The proposal also would bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' claim to represent Gaza, which was taken over last June by the Hamas militant group after routing Abbas' forces. Abbas now rules from the West Bank and wields little control over Gaza.
Hamas is actually on board with this, claiming that it will strengthen ties with their fellow Arabs and make them less dependent on Israel.

At Contentions, David Hazony notes who the actual winners of this tactic actually are:
The transfer of Gaza to Egypt’s electrical grid is a major step towards enabling Israel to wash its hands of Gaza, making it Egypt’s problem–which is what I had previously insisted was really happening with the blockade and its subsequent breach. The winners in this transfer are Israel (which wants to be able to say it’s not occupying anything in Gaza) and Hamas (which is becoming increasingly in charge of what happens in the Palestinian territories); the losers are the PA (which is incapable of maintaining control over the territory it has been given) and Egypt (which has no desire whatsoever to be responsible for Gaza, but now finds itself with little choice). Now we just need to wait for the international community to recognize that when Israel pulls out of “occupied” territory and cuts its economic ties, it cannot be simultaneously blamed for both a “blockade” and an “occupation.” It’s one or the other–or maybe neither.
On the other hand, while Eric Trager agrees with Hazony for the most part, it could be that it's the Palestinians as a whole who will lose. The Hamas view that "the better you know us, the more you'll love us" is not panning out:

Consider the sudden shift in public debate at the American University in Cairo. Although AUC has long been a hotbed of anti-Israel activism, students are exhibiting a staggering decline in their enthusiasm for the Palestinian cause, with a rift developing between a small cadre of pro-Palestinian activists—most of whom are Palestinian—and the rest of the student body. Last week, the pro-Palestinian Al-Quds Club organized the “End the Siege on Gaza” sit-in—an effort that was heavily promoted on campus and via Facebook. During the demonstration, protesters held posters accusing Israel of terrorism and ominously vowing, “Palestine, we die so we can live!” Meanwhile, student speakers compared Gaza to a cage—all in all, typical rhetoric that the AUC student body had long embraced as doctrine.

Yet the student body—which is roughly 80% Egyptian—was hardly impressed. According to The Caravan, turnout was far less than expected, with students noticeably uninterested in the sit-in.
Come to think of it, there really is no reason for Palestinian Arabs to be any more popular in Egypt than they are in Lebanon, Iraq and Kuwait.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad

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SnoopyTheGoon said...

On the other hand, getting Egypt back into Gaza and having an Egypt-dependent entity practically inside Israel is also a bit of a problem. Or could become one easily.

Daled Amos said...

I don't know if Egypt is getting involved that willingly, nor are they that sympathetic to The Cause.

The welcoming of Egypt in Gaza at this point is considered to the degree that it gets Gaza off of Israel's hands--hopefully that would not be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.