...The entire world, certainly Israel, lined up to make Gaza the jewel of the Middle East, a paradise on earth. But the Palestinians chose to turn it into a hell of terrorism, firing rockets at Israeli civilians and digging tunnels to use for acts of mass terrorism. The withdrawal from Gaza itself was conducted under fire, and afterward the entire Strip became the base for an ongoing war crime against Israeli civilians -- first under Abbas, and two years later under the Hamas regime.
14 August '14..
According to the reports out of Cairo, one of the main issues in the negotiations, maybe the biggest one, is Hamas' demand to remove the Israeli blockade on Gaza. The Palestinian narrative of the "siege" has taken roots in the public consciousness, to the point where we have also fallen into the trap. Is Gaza really under a siege?
The "siege" narrative was born after Israel's disengagement from Gaza in the summer of 2005 to replace the Palestinian narrative of "occupation," as an excuse for terrorism against Israel. After the withdrawal from Gaza, when the settlements were uprooted and every last trace of every last Jew eradicated, the Palestinians couldn't cling to their claim of "occupation." So ever since they have painted Gaza as an area under a "brutal siege."
This claim has to be examined starting from the disengagement. Israel withdrew and responsibility for Gaza was transferred to Palestinian Authority, under President Mahmoud Abbas. The entire world, certainly Israel, lined up to make Gaza the jewel of the Middle East, a paradise on earth. But the Palestinians chose to turn it into a hell of terrorism, firing rockets at Israeli civilians and digging tunnels to use for acts of mass terrorism. The withdrawal from Gaza itself was conducted under fire, and afterward the entire Strip became the base for an ongoing war crime against Israeli civilians -- first under Abbas, and two years later under the Hamas regime.
Only after 10 months of continual rocket fire following the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit did Israel declare the Gaza Strip a hostile entity and partly close the crossings and enforce a maritime closure on it. Open border crossings are standard between nations at peace. It's obvious that from the moment Gaza became a hostile entity all the crossings would be closed, exactly like the border crossings between Israel and Syria, for example, are closed. It's obvious that there can be no argument about this.
But Israel did not actually close the crossings at all. The opposite: even when the shooting on Israel was heaviest, including the Protective Edge War, 300 trucks laden with the best of goods crossed from Israel into Gaza daily. The terrorist tunnels intended to be used to murder Israelis were built with concrete and construction materials that Israel supplied. Even when the Palestinians shot at the crossings, Israel continued to let the trucks through. Israel kept on supplying electricity to Gaza, without pause, even after the Palestinians repeatedly shot at the Ashkelon power plant.
True, Israel placed a maritime closure on Gaza to prevent this terrorist monster from wide-scale armament. The closure was enacted according to international law, as even the report by the U.N. investigative committee into the Turkish flotilla of 2010 stated.
Is this a siege? This is how the dictionary defines "siege": "The act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place in such a way as to isolate it from help and supplies, for the purpose of lessening the resistance of the defenders and thereby making capture possible." Does this bear any resemblance to the reality on the Gaza border?
Moreover, Israel does not even have the ability to keep Gaza under siege, because Gaza shares a border with Egypt. The Gazans and the Egyptians belong to the same people. Thousands of rockets have not been fired at Egypt from Gaza. Siege? Let Egypt open its Gaza border crossings.
The whole siege story is nothing more than a fable made up to sway world opinion against Israel.