Monday, June 18, 2007

The Beginning of the End in Gaza

This may be the irreversible beginning of the end. Talk of further isolation of Gaza effectively makes hostages of the 1.5 million residents there. Fuel will go first, then food and water. The story:

But he pledged that the leadership loyal to Mr. Abbas would not abandon Gaza and that it would maintain contact with international agencies and Israel to ensure that food, fuel and other supplies continued to reach the 1.5 million Palestinians there.

“If what happened in Gaza represents chaos and mutiny, the West Bank represents law and order,” Mr. Erekat said. The West Bank, he said, will be ruled by “one authority and one gun.”

Another aide to Mr. Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeina, said he believed that the United States would support the new government and that America and Israel would agree to lift the embargo imposed on the previous governments led by Hamas, which is defined as a terrorist organization by Israel and much of the West.

Dor Alon, a private Israeli energy company that supplies all of Gaza’s gasoline, said it was stopping deliveries, Israel Radio said, though it would supply fuel for Gaza’s electrical power station.

The Israeli infrastructure minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who oversees fuel supplies, told Army Radio: “We should simply increase the isolation of Gaza. I want to stop everything until we understand what is going on there.”

Other reports said Dor Alon did not deliver the gasoline on Sunday because its trucks found nobody to receive it on the Palestinian side. Gaza is believed to have about a two-week supply of gasoline left.

What is of concern is that the usual relief entities are not in a position to help, again because of the status of Hamas on the international stage. Here's Tony Snow in this morning's press briefing:
Q Have we cut off all funding to Gaza, and has all fuel been cut off?

MR. SNOW: What we have said is that we continue to try to work on providing humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people, but we also have made it clear that we will not be supplying directly to Hamas. I think when -- but, Helen, what I would do is, again, for the specific questions, because Secretary Rice is going to be addressing all these things in detail within the next hour.

Q I know, but my specific question is are we going to starve these people, the Palestinians --

MR. SNOW: Again, it has always been our policy to be providing humanitarian aid directly to the Palestinian people, and it continues to be.

I don't see how humanitarian aid gets through if we are delivering it. Will any Arab country intervene to prevent further disaster?

1 comment:

mikec said...

I don't see how humanitarian aid gets through if we are delivering it. Will any Arab country intervene to prevent further disaster?

Don't count on it. The Arab League is possibly the only international body more useless than the United Nations. Still, I think accommodations will be made by the appropriate parties (the US, Israel, the UN, and the EU) to stave off any risk of starvation. Maybe, just maybe, Egypt will also play a role.