by Ari Rutenberg
Yesterday the Israeli government did something smart for the first time in months. They allowed humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza strip.
Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza the Israelis have imposed a blanket blockade on all goods, including electricity, going in to Gaza. For some reason they think depriving people of even the most basic goods will encourage them to stop rockets attacks over which the vast majority have absolutely no control. The logic of creating desperation in order to stop violence has always escaped me. Punishing the poor for the actions of the mighty will never create anything but animosity and suspicion (see Iraq and Cuba, Embargoes on) and certainly never turns the people against their leaders, deserving or not.
It seems to me that the best way for Israel to show that it is better than Hamas is to not allow the actions, however dangerous, of a few to prevent the majority from living their lives. If instead of constantly trying to find military solutions, they would make the effort to better the lives of those in Gaza, and for that matter the West Bank, this problem would disappear pretty quickly.
Instead the Israeli's leave all the education and humanitarian aid to Hamas, making them the heroes everytime.
The reality is that, though certainly scary, the Katushya rockets that Hamas fires almost never harm anyone when they work, which isn't all that often. They clearly cannot stop it militarily without a full occupation of Gaza. So the sensbile thing to do is start trying to win the hearts and minds by at least giving these people hope that things may get better, even if there is not substantial improvement on the ground. And it seems, at least with this first move, that there are some on the Israeli side who have reached this same very sensible conclusion.