Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gaza goes green

Gaza has fallen to Hamas. Abu Mazen has fired PM Haniyeh and, in an attempt to save Fatah in the West Bank, has finally declared a state of emergency.

Instead of seeking a two state solution we'll now have to seek a three state solution: for Israel and what the media are already calling 'Hamastan' and 'Fatahland'.

About an hour and a half's drive from the rooftop, here in the Tel Aviv bubble, guys like our friend on the right from the Hamas military are ruthlessly ruling the roost. We have an Islamic 'statelet' governed by a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood on our doorstep, the first of its kind in the Middle East. All this is sending shudders down moderate backs from Cairo to Washington.

The new situation raises so many questions. How to govern the Gaza-Israel and Gaza-Egypt crossing points (all presently closed)? What is Israel's exit strategy or how to transfer responsibility for the Strip to international hands? How to coordinate humanitarian aid? How to respond to qassam attacks from the Strip (2 landed today)? Will Hamas' military victory in Gaza arouse Islamic passions in Cairo or Beirut?

While Gaza goes green and the PA fights for its life life flows on in our hedonistic bubble. After a frenzied day I took an evening swim. On the beach people were playing matkot and tossing frizbees as the evening joggers zig-zagged between them and the sun dipped into the sea behind a low, grey cloud. Now, outside, the streets are clogged with Thursday night revelers.

Here's a picture I took a few weeks ago of some Arab kids at Yaffo port. Their cousins in Gaza are having less fun right now.

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