Scenario 1 – The Blockade of Gaza & Economic Development in the West Bank

P F Tinmore

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This approach calls for the continued boycott of the Hamas government and the continuued
siege of Gaza, while enabling greater freedom of movement and entrepreneurship
for Palestinians in the West Bank.

This scenario has a number of significant shortcomings. As stated above, the continued
blockade of Gaza heightens the state of instability in the region; it strengthens the rule
of Hamas; it promotes extremism among the local population, and is highly unlikely
to achieve its long-term objective of overthrowing Hamas. Specifically, as stated earllier,
the flow of money (illegally) through tunnels would strengthen the continued rule
of Hamas as well as other beneficiaries, forcing the local population to adapt to the
existing situation even if it sees other Palestinians faring better under different circumsstances. In short, to the extent this approach seeks to contrast two alternative models and entice the Gaza population to revolt, it is virtually bound to fail.

Moreover, from the perspective of most Palestinians, the policy of the so-called “econnomic
peace” amounts to no more than a reconfiguration of occupation policies. No
significant or irreversible change will occur in terms of Palestinian sovereignty, as
all settlements and their connecting infrastructure will remain in place, if not grow,
and the entire West Bank, as well as its external borders will remain under full Israeli
control. Such a policy will, thus, encourage the labeling of the PA as the “police of
the occupation” and, given the PA’s current low popularity, a scenario in which it has
to face increased charges of collaboration with Israel may well mean its final demise.
Another example of the quandary in which the PA will find itself in such a scenario is
evident when one recalls that the PA has been promoting the Gaza Reconstruction Plan
as a prime objective. Therefore, from a Palestinian perspective, economic peace cannot
materialize without a serious move towards a political peace that addresses the PA’s liaabilities and responsibilities towards the Gaza Strip. Without targeting this goal, pursuiing
this scenario would widen the gap between the West Bank and Gaza and reinforce
current perceptions in the Gaza Strip that they have been abandoned by the PA.

http://www.pij.org/pijpapers/gaza_pijpaper.pdf
 

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