A leading Ha'aretz economics correspondent, Nehemia Shtrasler, has this remarkable op-ed entitled "Unmoved by the humanitarian crisis." In it, he attacks those who think Israel should punish Gaza now and that Israeli policies heretofore have been too charitable. By name he goes after Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and the National Union Party's Zvi Hendel. But many share their view, suggesting Israel has no blame or responsibility for the situation in Gaza and should act accordingly. Robert Satloff walked down this path in comments he gave this week at the Washington Institute on Near East Policy where he is the Executive Director.
Shtrassler gives a detailed account of the economic effects of Israeli policies for Gaza -- it is essential reading. Here is an excerpt:
Israel has used the resources of the West Bank and Gaza shamefully, taking full advantage of the occupied areas. For years, Israel prevented the Palestinian territories from developing and setting up factories due to opposition from Israeli industrialists, but exploited the cheap and humiliated labor pool.
In addition, Israel prevented the Palestinian Authority from setting up a large power station so that it could remain dependent on the Israel Electric Corporation. Israel also prevented the construction of a port so it could control all the imports and exports, and put Dor Energy in charge of supplying the territories with gas.
For 40 years, Israel imprisoned 1.4 million people in the large, neglected and backward refugee camp that is the Gaza Strip...
Shtrasler is no foaming-at-the-mouth socialist. He is an honest economist and a very credible Israeli voice. Next time someone claims the Palestinians brought this all on themselves and Israel has no responsibility in the past or the future, please insist they read this!