Gaza: Between siege and fire – May 30, 2018

In the recent clashes in Gaza, the most violent after the 2013 war and counting over 75 dead and 2,000 injured, tens of thousands of residents who tried to bypass the dividing line with Israel, were confronted with the Israeli army’s bullets. Many may wonder what the cause of this action was. The answer has many aspects.

The economic situation in Gaza

Gaza suffered economic and medical exclusion for more than six years on the one hand from Israel and Egypt from the other. Two million Palestinian citizens living in Gaza suffer from poverty, hunger and unemployment. Tens of thousands of Gaza residents live in half-destroyed homes, schools and camps, as Israel prevents the entry of building materials in the area. Even fishermen are prevented from free movement in the Gaza sea area. There are many incidents in recent years where the Israeli navy was targeting fishermen with real fire. Amid these tragic economic conditions, people are driven more into despair and become more aggressive.

The social situation in Gaza

Two million people within a small geographical area where employment opportunities are virtually non-existent, hospitals have huge shortages of medical tools and modern drugs, mostly anti-cancer. Gaza is covered by darkness for more than 12 hours a day due to power shortages because Israel controls electricity. A local source asserts that electricity interruptions have a major impact on hospital work since fuel reserves for generators have long been over. Many patients in need of emergency surgery cannot find a hospital to accept them. The lack of cooperation between the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority’s administration in the West Bank is making things worse. Under these pressures, Gaza citizens face death as an escape from this life.

Loss of hope for a political solution

The Israeli-Palestinian crisis has not taken any steps towards resolving it since the signing of the second Oslo accord in 1995. The Israeli side has always tried to get out of a compromise while the Palestinians have suffered from the full US support to Israel which has increased Tel Aviv’s momentum in the direction of ever-increasing militarization. With the launch of the new millennium, Israel began building a dividing wall with the Palestinian side under the pretext of a two-state solution. But the borderline on which the wall was built has reduced the Palestinian control over the West Bank by 30%, expanding Israeli settlement. Over the past year, behind closed doors in Washington, talks are being held between Israeli and Arab officials to find a new solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

A diplomatic source assured me that Washington, led by Trump, proposed to give Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to seek another capital for the Palestinians. There is also a debate about the transfer of the people of Gaza to the Sinai desert, creating there a state  for them. Of course, the talks continue. Meanwhile, Trump, who maintains a strong relationship with Israel, has taken a dangerous step by transferring the US Embassy to Jerusalem, which is an indirect but clear recognition by Washington of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and not half-half with the Palestinians.

Some may think that the deaths in the Palestinian area of ​​Gaza are the most important event. In fact, the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem is a truly important event for the whole world that will have a negative impact on the region and its peoples and may signal the onset of greater violence in the near future. If we get back on September 11, 2001 to the strike that hit New York and was al-Qaeda’s revenge on the Palestinians, the response of Washington and its Western allies was really tough with the launch of a war against the organization and the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the persistence and worsening of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and the increasing persecution of Muslims in the Middle East in general were the main reasons that led to the emergence of ISIS. Naturally, ISIS has exploited this issue to attract young Muslims.

Therefore, this dangerous step in Jerusalem will have a negative impact. While the world is trying to end up with terrorism, Washington is throwing oil into the fire. The already hot atmosphere in the Middle East will lead to more violence and wars. Already in the last few hours there has been increased tension between the Gaza Strip and Israel with repeated hostilities. Perhaps it is a matter of hours a more extensive ignition.