Sunday, November 18, 2007

Misery in Gaza

Seth Freidman, writing in The Guardian, offers the usual fare: Both Palestinians and Israelis will have to make compromises, but since Israel is the stronger side, she must do more, and first, and responsibility for no peace is Israel's. And of course the settlements are the source of all evil. If I were in London, and was paying for a dead-tree version of a newspaper, I probably wouldn't choose the Guardian if only because of the sheer predictability and boredom factor.

All the while, the situation in Gaza is a daily demonstration of the foolishness of the Guardian thesis: Israel took the initiative, dismantled the settlements, pulled out her forces, and at the time - late summer 2005 - handed over control of Gaza's border with Egypt to the Egyptians and teams of inspector from the EU. And lo and behold: No peace! Nor even anything remotely resembling peace.

And yet... The situation in Gaza really is awful. Steven Erlanger of the New York Times has just filed a report from there (and note the recorded parts that can be listened to only on the web-site version of the NYT).

In spite of what the Guardianistas and their ilk like to say, Israel is fundamentally not responsible for the misery in Gaza. But no decent person can observe the misery and remain unmoved. It truly is awful, and apparently not getting any better; the prospects are mostly that it will get worse. And Israel is part of the story - past, present, and future. I don't know what we might do that would make things better, but simple human compassion for people in dire straights is still called for. I wish the Gazans had a better life, and a rosier future. I really do.

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