Saturday, March 15, 2008

News from Gaza

Sami Abdul Shafi writes from Gaza:

Gaza has been calm after the last violent cycle. The general public is anxiously awaiting prospects of a ceasefire agreement and the opening up of Gaza’s crossing points. Although I share that hope, I am not entirely confident that it will come about as comprehensively as people hope it would. In other words, relative calm may result but I fear that Israel will reserve the ability – and will act on it – to attack Gaza whenever it sees fit, and Palestinians will not be short of ways to slip into violent means against Israel. It is also worrying that the dynamics between the Ramallah government and the group in Gaza, in the context of the ceasefire talks, are not clear or are still missing. It cannot be that Egypt is brokering an agreement of some sort between Israel and the group in Gaza, while the active involvement of President Abbas seems absent. I fear that a ceasefire with Gaza, as opposed to Palestinians in all Palestinian territories, will further cement the separation between Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem even if it offered temporary relief. In the meantime, Gaza has been out of gas (benzene) for weeks now. I walk to my meetings and sometimes take taxis if they are not short on diesel fuel. The list of missing or scarce goods is astonishingly long!

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