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Handling the Gaza Strip, a student’s perspective

By Luckmini Liyanage
Published: June 2010

If the Kashmir border is the deadliest area in the world, Israel and Palestine is a close second. Since 1948, Israel has fought several wars with the surrounding Arab nations, expanding their territory and forcibly taking land from Palestinians.

In January 2006, Hamas was democratically elected in the Palestinain Authority’s legislative elections, defeating Fatah.

This win launched a power struggle between Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah, and Hamas.

Palestine is split laterally across Israel, with the Gaza strip bordering the Mediterranean sea. Hamas controls Gaza, while the Palestinian Authority (PA), run by Fatah, is mainly in charge of West Bank. The International Community considers PA to be the government of all of Palestine.

However, because half of Palestine does not see PA as legitimate, Hamas still wields considerable power.

Israel’s strategy to combat Hamas has not only been to overpower Hamas with their military, but to also cut off aid to the Gaza strip, hoping the destitution will cripple Hamas’s power. The opposite has happened.

Hamas provides schools, food, hospitals, and basic needs to Palestinians in Gaza, therefore gaining their support and loyalty.

Although I do not support Hamas’s terrorist actions, the root of their cause is legitimate. Israel has consistently broken international laws with their pre-emptive strikes and expansion of settlements.

These preemptive actions often unnecessary and grossly violate all international laws concerning human rights.

Any armed conflict between Israel and Palestine has resulted in several times more Palestinian deaths.

The First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, resulted in 1100 Palestinian deaths and about 164 Israeli deaths.

Palestinians fight with rocks, Israeli’s have tanks. The Palestinian arsenal does not even compare to that of Israel.

Even in December 2008 when Israel began a wave of air strikes against targets in Gaza, aiming to stop rock rocket fire from Hamas, 1,414 Palestinians died, while only 13 Israelis did.

According to the UN World Food Program, between 35-65% of the agriculture has been wrecked in Gaza because of Israeli strikes.

Most recently Israel attacked an international aid ship heading for Gaza, calling the attack “pre-emptive.

The attack was unwarranted and unnecessary.

The ship did not pose a national security threat to Israel, but rather was found to be carrying, according to the IDF, “toys, some wheelchairs, and lots of used clothes.

In order to bring peace, Israel will need to give up some concessions.

One way is by agreeing to a two-state solution of some kind. In this proposed solution, two states would be created, Israel and Palestine (which is not a nation yet, but a territory), with the 1948 borders.

The main problem with this is that the two halves of Palestine are split across Israel, and the logistics are complicated and near impossible to understand when creating a unified state that is geographically divided.

A second plausible solution is the one-state binational solution in which all citizens would be granted equal rights without regard to race or religion.

The government would operate like a federalist system that governed over Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Neither of these solutions is perfect, but one permutation of these must be implemented to bring peace to this bloody corner of the world.

Both Israel and Palestine commit human rights violations, but Israel, being exponentially more powerful, must take the first steps towards bringing legitimate peace.

In both countries, a plurality of those polled preferred a two state solution, or some variation thereof.

Another poll by Near East Consulting (NEC) in 2007 found that 70% of Palestinians preferred a peaceful solution to the fighting over Hamas tactics.

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