Leading article: Lessons from Gaza, one year on

Share
Related Topics

The first anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is approaching. But this is unlikely to be a cause for celebration among either Israelis or Palestinians. Surveying the condition of that meagre strip of territory today, it seems that little has changed in the past year. The Israeli army has returned. And the mindless tit-for-tat violence goes on. Only yesterday, three Palestinians were blown up by the Israeli army in Beit Hanoun, a response to the firing of crude rockets by Palestinian militants across the border. Gaza remains cut off from the outside world, its economy in crisis and its population in misery. Withdrawal does not appear to have benefited the people of Gaza, nor liberated Israel from its burden of occupation.

The failure of withdrawal to yield a peace dividend is something the world would do well to recognise, as another apparent opportunity for progress emerges in the form of the cease-fire in Lebanon. When Ariel Sharon dismantled Israeli settlements in Gaza and pulled back Israel's forces 12 months ago, President Mahmoud Abbas proved unable to fill the inevitable security vacuum. Predictably, it was the Gaza-based militants Hamas that were credited by many Palestinians with prompting the Israeli withdrawal.

When Hamas were victorious in Palestinian parliamentary elections this year, Israel swiftly imposed a blockade on Gaza. Hamas's militia responded by crossing the border and kidnapping an Israeli soldier. That was when the Israeli government sent the tanks back in. By refusing to work with moderate Palestinian representatives, the Israeli government merely succeeded in strengthening the hard-liners.

The same process is in danger of happening again in Lebanon. The ceasefire that came into effect early yesterday morning is not stable. The Israeli government says its troops will remain in the south of Lebanon until an international peacekeeping force arrives. The Hizbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, says his fighters will respect the ceasefire, but will resist a continued Israeli presence in Lebanon. The potential for a return to hostilities is obvious. Making matters worse is Israel's refusal to lift the air and sea blockade of Lebanon. The Israeli government seems content for the democratically-elected Lebanese government to remain on its knees, despite the fact that all sides supposedly recognise that it will be needed to help disarm Hizbollah.

The Israeli government's determination to settle its borders unilaterally and its wilful disregard for the legitimate interests of its neighbours have manifestly failed to deliver peace and stability on Israel's western border in Gaza. And such tactics look just as unlikely to do so on its northern border in Lebanon.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Manager - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative online car purc...

Recruitment Genius: Subscriptions and Marketing Assistant

£12500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A subscriptions and marketing a...

Metail Ltd: Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific

£35,000 - £40,000 based on experience : Metail Ltd: As a Business Development ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Supervisor

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well establis...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A memorial dedicated to the 52 people that were killed during the 7/7 terror attacks in London is cleaned in London's Hyde Park  

7/7 bombings: We cannot opt out of this fight, hoping that if we hide terrorism will leave us alone

Liz Kendall
 

There are no heroes in the Greek crisis that ended the euro

Steve Richards
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate