Sunday, January 27, 2008

Under pressure

News from the Middle East today is that Israel will resume fuel shipments to the Gaza Strip, the renegade Palestinian territory that broke away from the Palestinian Authority last year, the BBC is reporting. Restoring the fuel supply should help relieve a looming humanitarian crisis in the 1.5-million population territory, from which Israel withdrew in 2005. Israel had been blockading Gaza in response to daily artillery fire from militants directed at the nearby Israeli city of Sderot, but enough is enough. If authorities in the Gaza Strip, now controlled by the terror group Hamas, which still denies Israel's right to exist, cannot stop the shelling, the Israeli Army must do it. But to inflict more suffering on the people of the Gaza Strip seems pointless and cruel. Israel obviously believes Hamas is encouraging or at least tolerating the rocket attacks, which is probably true. The suffering of Gaza Strip residents does not motivate Hamas to resolve the crisis, but Israel should not be so callous. Plus, Israel is powerful enough to deal with the threat without endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents. Of course, the threat has eased in recent days with the breaching of the Egyptian border, which had been closed since the Hamas takeover, and the free movement of Gaza Strip residents to Egyptian cities to buy supplies. Israel's decision to allow fuel shipments came at a hearing of the Israeli Supreme Court on a lawsuit brought by human rights groups opposed to the blockade.

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