The Israeli ambassador is wrong
To blame the humanitarian crisis and the violence in Gaza purely on Hamas is to rewrite history
* Mandy Turner
* Friday August 29 2008 14:00 BST
The Israeli ambassador's article yesterday was astonishing in its disregard for the facts. To argue that Israel is not to blame for the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is an incredible attempt to rewrite history. Israel largely controls the purse strings of the Palestinian Authority, it controls goods and services into and out of the occupied Palestinian territories, and it controls all borders. This was enshrined in the Paris Protocols and the Oslo Accords. The PA was supposed to be the first step towards an independent state. The cruel truth is that it is more akin to a ship in a stormy sea with no engine or navigation tools.
These facts go a long way in explaining why the Palestinian economy has collapsed resulting in widespread poverty, unemployment and social deprivation. The Palestinian Authority is a terminally ill patient kept alive only through the life support machine of international aid, which can be turned off at any point. The sanctions after Hamas was elected in January 2004 merely accelerated these problems.
The civil war between Hamas and Fatah developed in this context. The Hamas coup in June last year was the dramatic climax. Despite accusations of foul play by both parties, those who held Palestine's purse strings - Israel, the donors and the international financial institutions - swiftly took sides and lifted the international boycott on the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, but tightened sanctions against the Hamas-led government in Gaza.