Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The remote-controlled occupation

WELL, just when I though it was all over, here I am, stuck once again in the cozy disengaged confines of Gaza city. I wish I could say in the confines of "Gaza Strip" but then I'd be lying--Israel has split Gaza into two parts, closing off the Abo Holi checkpoint in Central Gaza to all Palestinian movement, and today announced the indefinite closure of Rafah crossing, the only route to the outside world for me and and Yousuf and 1.4 million others.

The closure, following the trend of Disengagement, was a unilateral Israeli move.

Of course this is all the more significant given the fact that we are due to travel in about a week to the United States to visit my husband, Yousuf's baba, via Rafah Crossing and Cairo. Its even more painful for Palestinian requiring medical visits in Egypt, or coming back from abroad to begin schools, or even worse-who need to bury their dead.

One of best family friends was killed today in a car crash in Egypt, along with her husband and adopted daughter (only the second, 12-year-old girl survived). THey were there seeking cancer treatement for the father unavailable in Gaza. Now the family that survives them in Gaza cannot go to Egypt and bring the bodies back to be buried here, nor bring the surviving child with them. This is the harsh daily reality for Palestinians. This is the reality that I fear will not change if we are not allowed control over Rafah crossing.

The fanfare in recent days about the "deal" reached over Rafah is vastly overstated. The agreement signed between Egypt and Israel basically gives Egyptian troops the right to...get this...redeploy on their own border. What a breakthrough.

Better yet, the "Egyptian compromise" over border control that the Israeli government is "leaning towards accepting" will have Israel controlling a new terminal for the passage of goods, and Israeli surveillance cameras monitoring Palestinian movement through the current Rafah crossing, which will be operated jointly by Egyptians and Europeans (with Israeli oversight, of course). Right. It all makes sense now. A remote-controlled occupation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your friend.

12:56 AM  
Blogger Dan Eisenberg said...

While i agree with you in theory that Palestinians should have control over the Rafah check point and frankly all of Gaza. I dont think that now is the time. Considering the lack of leadership and lack of law and order, who would supervise the border, the PA, Hamas. I agree the current situation is no good, humiliating and unfair. I also don't think another shipment simalir to the Karine A (Wikipedia article )would be in the Palestinians best interest. I wish the vacuum created when Israel departed will be filled by a unified, democratic, strong, and peace loving Palestinian state.

Stay safe

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog to read, thank you.

However its quality would be even better if you gave a little more context.

E.g. instead of saying "the Israelis cut the strip in 2", maybe add the context. The recent pointless violence against troops (who are leaving anyways!) is the reason for the split. A reader may be tempted to think we do this because we enjoy making the lives of cancer patients and car accident relatives hell.

BTW: Yousuf looks like an angel that I would really want to hug!

2:30 PM  
Blogger Abu-Issa said...

Daniel, what right does any country have to do this to another people, on land that is not their own? This is the entire point of all of this. The "current situation" has been "the situation" since 1948, Palestinian's are fighting for their country back. And since you brought up the Karine A...why shouldn't Palestinians have the right to defend themselves? Oh yeah, I hear you, it's 'to prevent Palestinian terror within the borders of Israel', right? So what do you call what the Israeli's are doing in Gaza now??

7:03 PM  
Blogger Dan Eisenberg said...

abu-issa- The point of my comment was not to discuss the history and assign blame. The point was a question: Is there a strong enough government to accept the national and international responsibilities of border control. Do you doubt Hamas would launch katyushas into Israel? I believe Abbas has to either conquer or befriend the radical Palestinian groups like the Hagana did to the Irgun. (I assume you know the history of Israel's "freedom fighters" including our own Karine A, the Altelena. I hope as soon as the last Israeli soldier leaves Gaza, Abbas will be able to establish peace so further negotiations can continue.


12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

while I feel sorry for you regarding your friends' accident, I feel no sympathy for your comments about Palestinians daily existence and their harsh realities. It is a harsh reality that Israeli's live in fear of terror, which can be seen by the recent Beer Sheva and Natanya bombs, which you don't seem to mention at all. You present a very one sided tale. Maybe you should realise that some of the consequences of terror are that lives on both sides are affected - Israelis are humans too.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Abu-Issa said...

Israelis are humans. Palestinians are humans. Palestinians and Israelis are related back to Sem son of Noah and are therefore cousins...brothers...sisters...aunt and uncles, that's a lot of humanity! But the fact remains that Israel has an in-human strangle hold on the neck of Palestinians and have for the last 57 years. Israelis need to petition their government to end the occupation and to retreat to the 1947 partition plan borders before a meaningful 'human' dialogue can begin.

Partition Plan Map

7:12 PM  
Blogger Dan Eisenberg said...

abu-issa, you didnt respond to the questions / issues I raised.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Dear Anonymous,
While I respect your opinion and you right to speak it, I don't agree with it.
you say "It is a harsh reality that Israeli's live in fear of terror", and that both sides are affected. YOu are forgetting something *minor* here. Israel is an occupying power, the Palestinians are an occupied people without a state. and leaving Gaza is not going ot change that. As an occupying power, Israel controls every aspect of Palestinian life. Imagine that for a second-you can't go to the grocery store without checking if the checkpoint is open or closed today. You can't plan your travel outside your own country-its under another power's control. It is a power you cannot see or talk to-it is like a "Big Brother". You have cancer-too bad, bcause you wil be among 60% of palestinains who die since cancer treatement is only avaialbe otuside, at the whim of israeli permit officials. What Israel does in the name of "security" for its citizens, and in the name of security for its illegal settlers, is grossly disporportionate, arbitrary, and cruel, and this is according to israeli human rights orgnaizations. They are collectively punishing an entire peoples. You want to security, fine, put up enforcements on your own borders-not encroach on palestinain borders, like every other country in this world.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You have cancer-too bad, bcause you wil be among 60% of palestinains who die since cancer treatement is only avaialbe otuside, at the whim of israeli permit officials."

And if you do get a permit, then maybe you will be one of the ones Jihad or Hamas uses to try to sneak a bomb into a hospital? Or perhaps you will just be one of those who does not actually have cancer, but who lies and gets a fake you can sneak a bomb into a hospital.

You do realize that cases such as the above do not exactly help the case of cancer patients, right? Even the most generous, left-wing official is going to have to think twice and three times before issuing a permit.

Granted, not everyone is a suicide bomber in waiting, but how many have to be? Really, just a few. Just one. I would know. I was seriously injured in a suicide bombing over three years ago. The fact that (allegedly) the average Palestinean is just a peaceful being who wants to live his life did not offer me one ounce of protection.

I am actually left wing, am wildly supportive of the disengagement, believe that we never should have built there in the first place, would be wildly in favor of a negotiated settlement regarding the West Bank, am a member of political party calling for equal justice for all citizens and so on.... I wish I could believe and have faith that everything will be okay, now that we are moving in the right direction. The reality is that we simply cannot depend on Abu Mazen and Co for our safety. I wish it were different. But it is not.

I am in favor of Israeli control because I am simply not left wing enough to be in favor of condemning others to go what I have gone through, or to even worse.

Whatever your feelings on blame, what Israel deserves, etc--get real! Do you honestly expect us to say "sure, go ahead, smuggle lots of rockets and explosives then come on in and blow up more buses?"

2:17 AM  

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