Hamastan Shmamastan - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Ben Gurion
    • 18.09.05 | 19:27 (IDT)

    Gaza is a near-perfect laboratory set piece. Gaza is defenseless and unable to threaten Israel. The fear of a Hamastan is a delusion. Let the experiment begin. This is not the first time I raise this matter, but it seems not to catch on. So let me elaborate once again. Suppose Gaza is completely free, having normal traffic between itself and Egypt and free access to international sea and airspace. These last two items will soon need to be provided since Israel wants Gaza to be declared "free of occupation". I will grant right now that Gazans will smuggle in various types of "small" armaments, such as rockets and mortars. This is probably happening already through the Egyptian border that Israel was willing to relinquish. First, the danger to Israel: There is hardly any. Once Gaza is "free", Geneva Convention restrictions on Israel do not apply. For any Qassam or other attack, Israel can respond by shutting off electricity supply to Gaza for a couple of days. The population will know quickly whom to blame. Israel cannot use this technique now because of Geneva. It can only punish the militants (if it finds them), not the whole "state". In addition to electricity, Gaza has no oil refinaries at present and is dependent on Israel for other supplies, although it could buy commodities from elsewhere at higher cost. In any case, Gaza is extremely vulnerable and will BEHAVE. It must. Note that if I am mistaken (which I can't see how here), the IDF can quickly be back to restore order. The advantage to Israel: One can see how the PA manages its nation building, manages the economy, manages its relation with Hamas, etc. Their intentions regarding peace will become clear. If one wants to reduce Hamas' power, which will go down in any case because they will not be able to terrorize Israel from Gaza, one can help by getting an economic boom going in Gaza. I suggested before that a way to achieve this is to start settling the refugees. Those refugees willing to give up the "right of return" will get a home and a job. Those refugees that refuse, will remain in their camp. Such a program will cause a boom in housing and all economic areas. My last point: There is a benefit for allowing Hamas to run for elections. Elected politicians must moderate their views. They have to worry about reelection and pleasing their constituents. If Hamas causes their people trouble, they will be reduced in the next elections. There is nothing for Israel to fear in Gaza, but fear itself.

    from the article: Of course, Egypt is to blame
    First published 00:00 18.09.05 | Last updated 00:00 18.09.05
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