As Gideon Levy points out yet again, not only has it caused a humanitarian crisis for which the Israeli government and the Quartet are responsible, but because it ultimately attracts support for Hamas and involves the Quartet in a diplomatic farce which it has now lost:
‘Two or three months and the “boycott” party of the Palestinian Authority ended. It was also an especially stupid masked ball: Hamas can now brandish a real achievement. Israel and the world have surrendered unconditionally, and the flow of money to the territories is being renewed.
The problem is that some of the masks have remained, and the foolishness continues: Israel and the world will not transfer monies “directly” to the Hamas government, but rather by means of a special “Hamas bypass” mechanism. This unnecessary mask will also be removed quickly.
What has Israel gained from this game? Nothing. It has only lost. The pictures of shortages and distress have been chalked up, and rightly so, to Israel. …
It is necessary to go back to the two eternal verities: First of all, the Palestinian people elected Hamas in democratic elections, which were held at the initiative of the United States and with Israel’s agreement; secondly, the state of Israel bears the responsibility for the fate of the population in the occupied territories. You wanted elections? Hamas was elected. You wanted to topple the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization? Here are the results. You want occupation? You have to pay the price. There is no way of escaping this.’
Collective punishment of the Palestinians is downright morally appalling, and we’ve seen that it doesn’t work.
The policies of the Israeli government and the Quartet have only served to strengthen support for Hamas. The more the Israeli government continues in its current policies of starving 3.5 million Palestinians, most of whom are living in what is essentially a prison (the occupied territories have no sea port or airport or free movemtn even within the occupied territories), the more Palestinians will turn to the extremism that seems to be fighting back.
There is one positive thing here, however: the blockade and the shortages it caused are finally being chalked up to Israel, instead of Palestinians suffering because of those policies.