Meron Benvenisti: Cease-fire between Israel and Gaza will make Gaza the Palestinian State

From an article written by Meron Benvenisti and published in Haaretz:

“[P]paradoxically the right, which strives to destroy Hamas, needs to support the cease-fire and the establishment of Hamas control in Gaza. And the left, which supports a single state led by Fatah, needs to object to the establishment of a separate government in Gaza.

“The cease-fire accompanied by an agreement on the crossings, and in particular the opening of the Rafah crossing, will help Hamas to cement its control over Gaza. They will establish their own organization, which will grow and spread and become permanent – and distance themselves from the government in the West Bank. It seems that the cease-fire, even if it is fragile, will mark a point of no return in the splitting off of the Gaza Palestinians into a separate authority.

“It is possible to pretend that the main battle is against Hamas, which seeks the destruction of Israel. It is also possible to blame Israel, whose consistent policies led to the detachment of Gaza and the Hamas takeover. It is also possible to claim that the split between the West Bank and Gaza is structural and the Palestinians of the West Bank always feared being flooded by Gazans, and that is why they never protested too loudly against the nonimplementation of the safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank.

“Whether we give Israel credit for a sophisticated strategy that produced results, or whether we call the result a coincidence, it is clear that the additional split in the Palestinian people serves long-term Israeli interests.

“The isolation of a million and a half Gazans allows indirect, outside control. This could be replaced – after a long period of violence and blockade – by a policy of nonintervention, and even indirect aid for economic development, as a way to divert human resources from violence to constructive channels.

“The accessibility to the outside world, by land and sea, and an efficient and uncorrupt government are likely to turn that piece of land into the Palestinian state.

“The other Palestinian canton, whose area is getting smaller and smaller due to the spread of the settlements, now has 2 million people and is considered the heartland of the Palestinian people. But it is quickly turning into an adjunct of Israel for all practical purposes, and it is experiencing political processes similar to those experienced by Israeli Arabs since 1948.

“These processes will be exposed when the Palestinian Authority falls apart on its own, once the Gaza cease-fire gives it a fatal blow.

“This is the system of divide and conquer that will enable Israeli control over the long term. Its cornerstone is the isolation of Gaza…”

Benvenisti’s full analysis can be read in Haaretz here .

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