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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jun 20, 2010

Reasons behind Israeli Siege of Gaza

Since the Israeli attack on the International Flotilla that outraged the world population, Israel has been called upon to lift the siege on Gaza that began in 2007. The Gaza siege is still going on despite the repeated U.N. demands that it should be lifted completely, not partially as Israel recently declared. The siege is in violation of international law and human rights. It is a collective punishment of 1.5 million people. The International Red Cross just issued an appeal for the lifting of the Gaza siege to minimize the physical, social and economic difficulties that people in Gaza have experienced on a daily basis for the last three years.

So far, Israel has refused to lift the siege completely, but promised to let some essential goods enter the Gaza Strip, such as food, cement and iron for construction. More than 35,000 Palestinians have been living in tents since the December 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza that destroyed thousands of homes. From the beginning, the siege of Gaza was planned to weaken the authority of Hamas, who won the free election in 2007. Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are the ones who supported the siege with the blessing of the U.S. government during the Bush administration. However, each of the three has their own agenda and objective behind their support of the Gaza siege. The Israelis claim that Hamas permits the firing of missiles at its own communities and that it poses a threat to Israelis citizens. If the causalities caused by the primitive type of missiles from Gaza are compared to the number of deaths caused by Israeli air and land bombardments, the former is not even one percent of the latter. The Gaza invasion of December 2008 alone caused the deaths of more than 1400 people, according to the U.N. Goldstone report. The report even accused Israel of war crimes. From the beginning, the Israeli government did not want Hamas to be part of any peace negotiation. They are hardliners and insist that Israel goes back to the 1967 borders. The Israelis are supportive of Mr. Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, who is ready to compromise regardless of the consequences on the Palestinians. Mr. Abbas was and still is supportive of the Gaza siege because it weakened the authority of Hamas. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that, while meeting with President Obama, Mr. Abbas stated that he is against the lifting of the Gaza siege. These remarks were quoted in the American press as well as in almasry-alyoum, (6/15/2010). Mr. Abbas views Hamas as his enemy number one. If the siege is lifted, this will increase the popularity of Hamas among the Palestinians in particular and Muslims in general.
The Egyptian government was supportive of the Gaza siege because it viewed the political success of Hamas as having a positive impact on their supporters, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They pose as the biggest organized political threat to the government of President Mubarak, and they have a deep-rooted support among the Egyptian public.The participation of the Egyptian government in the siege contributed to its decreasing influence in the Arab world.

The U.S. role in this conflict is very clear. Whatever Israel demands, the U.S. will implement. Israel classified Hamas as a terrorist organization because they resist the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Despite the fact that Hamas never carried an attack against the U.S. the American government classified them as terrorists.
The negative impact of the Israeli attack on the International Freedom Flotilla, that was trying to break the Gaza siege, has backfired. This situation has even led some Israeli political figures, such as the Israeli Minister of Transportation, to call on the Prime Minister of Israel to lift the siege because it did not produce any positive results, and it put Israel in a very negative position worldwide.

The Egyptian government was left with no choice but to respond to world criticism and open its border to and from Gaza. Furthermore, it has been reported that the U.S. government has halted funding of the steel wall that Egypt began to build underground to stop Hamas from digging tunnels to smuggle goods from Egypt into Gaza.

Israel’s political and tactical strategy is to delay any attempt of peaceful settlement with the Palestinians. Israeli Zionists think that time is on their side and they feel at the present that President Obama’s plan for peace has been put on the backburner. In the meantime, they will continue to expand at the expense of the Palestinians to implement their Zionist ideology. Meanwhile, the Palestinian population continues to grow, and in the end the Israeli government will have no choice but to absorb the Palestinians with the lands that they have annexed.

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