Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Gaza - The Situation Is Improving

Yes the situation in Gaza is improving. For the Israelis.

A consensus seems to have formed in Israel that the disengagement from Gaza was a deadly mistake - that it caused a steep escalation of the Kassams falling on Sderot and, most recently, allowed Hamas to take over the Strip. In all, according to the new Israeli wisdom, the removal of Israeli settlers and soldiers from the Gaza 21 months ago has badly weakened Israel's security.

This consensus, for the most part, is a crock.
It turns out that the rocket attacks are at about the same level now as they were before withdrawal.

However, there are changes. Dramatic changes.
There are no more rockets hitting Sderot now than there were in the "good old days." However, the number of Israelis killed by Gaza Palestinians has changed dramatically since disengagement - for the better. Since the last IDF soldier left the Strip until now, eight Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in Gaza - four civilians in Sderot, and four soldiers, according to the Foreign Ministry's Web site. Another soldier, Gilad Shalit, has been kidnapped.

By comparison, in the five years from the start of the second intifada until disengagement, 148 Israelis were killed by Gaza Palestinians - 91 soldiers and 57 civilians. In addition, 11 foreign civilians were killed by Gazans in that time.

So in terms of bloodshed, there's nothing to discuss - Gaza was many, many times more deadly for Israelis before the disengagement than it's been since.
On top of that, as we all know, the situation is worse for the Palestinians.
Fearing the situation in the Gaza Strip will deteriorate even further, Israel permitted hundreds of foreigners and diplomats in Gaza to enter Israel, providing them buses at the Erez crossing in northern Gaza. Meanwhile at the instructions of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the IDF facilitated the entry of Magen David Adom ambulances into the crossing to evacuate the wounded Palestinians to hospitals in Israel. According to reports four Palestinians were evacuated, two who were wounded in Monday night's shooting initiated by Hamas, and others who suffer from chronical illnesses.

Palestinian Authority negotiater Saeb Erekat said Israel had agreed to evacuate 55 seriously ill Palestinians from Gaza to hospitals in Israel,...
How much you want to bet that the sickness rate skyrockets in Gaza?

In any case order is being restored, for the time being.
Militiamen barred people from carrying weapons in public, a group calling itself "Volunteers for God" frantically directed traffic at jammed intersections and gunmen demanded storeowners freeze prices despite a food shortage.

But the new stability did not dispel deep fears among some Gazans that Hamas militants will retaliate against their vanquished enemies in the more secular Fatah movement and impose their severe interpretation of Muslim law, further isolating this poor coastal territory of 1.4 million Palestinians.

"We are leaving a bad situation -- but one we knew -- and entering an unknown situation, and that makes people nervous. What's coming?" said Abu Walid, a 19-year-old shopkeeper in Gaza City.
I'm going to help you out Abu Walid and make a bold prediction. Nothing Good.

And what do you know a Palestinian agrees with me:
A Fatah fighter in southern Gaza, who would only give his name as Yasir, said he was keeping close to home and predicted the current stability will be short-lived.

"Hamas rules now, but watch what happens in the future," he said.

"Everybody with a dead brother is waiting to get their revenge. They will wait years. Everybody knows each other, everybody knows who killed their brother. As soon as Hamas weakens, the guns everybody is hiding will come out."

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