Disengagement Without Justice
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Gaza Withdrawal The unilateral Israeli disengagement from the Gaza
Strip is set to take place in roughly two weeks. Although the
Palestinians in Gaza will no doubt be happy about the fact that Jewish
colonies such as Nezarim, Gush Katif, Neve Dekalim, Morag, Erez, etc.
will become Palestinian controlled land, Palestinians such as
journalist Laila El-Haddad question what this disengagement has to do
with either peace or justice.
El-Haddad, a Palestinian mother of one and journalist, was recently
forced to wait at the northern border of Gaza for eight hours in an
attempt to visit the West Bank, before being denied entry simply
because she was from Gaza. Haddad was told by an Israeli soldier that
simply because she was a Palestinian from Gaza she is "considered a
security threat first, a journalist second."
Will this mentality change just because a few thousand people are
moved a few miles north?
Israel still reserves the right to re-enter Gaza for security reasons,
and the current withdrawal does not include Israeli forfeiture of
power over the seaports, the airport, or the borders. Another issue
without any certain answer is how Palestinians may move between Gaza
and the West Bank. While there are discussions under way between the
Israelis and Egyptians, Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, James
Wolfensohn and all parties, and the US State Department and all
parties, there has been little concrete progress as far as how the
disengagement will actually be carried out.
In all of the confusion surrounding the withdrawal, El-Haddad argues
that the "politico-strategic maneuver" of Sharon should be seen for
just that. El-Haddad sees little concern from the Israeli or American
goverments about preventing the occupation of Gaza from becoming the
"prison" of Gaza. The concrete steps that must be implemented to
prevent this include tranferring control of borders, seaports, and
airports to Palestinians, or perhaps, in the case of the Philadelphi
area between Gaza and Egypt, to Egyptians.
El-Haddad also argues that the situation should be seen as a
whole--the continued construction of the Separation Wall and of Jewish
colonies in the West Bank cannot be forgotten simply because of the
evacuation of a few thousand illegal settlers.
As El-Haddad sums up the situation so simply, "while disengagement
will bring some relief for Gazans, it is by no means the end of the
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