Haaretz, Oct 4, 2017


Israel, too, has an interest in Gaza’s sewage being treated rather than flowing into the sea, in Gaza’s aquifer not collapsing and in its residents getting suitable medical care. Israel, too, has an interest in preventing epidemics in Gaza.

For Hamas, as a political movement that sees itself as the authentic representative of all Palestinians (in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora), ceding control of Gaza is in its own interests, even if it loses the power centers and the control it has grown used to over the past decade. Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh were both born in Gaza and still live there, so they’ve experienced its
human and environmental disaster personally. They know their organization can’t continue to conduct its management experiments at the expense of their people’s welfare.

The punitive steps that Israel and Western countries took against the elected Hamas government immediately after it was established 11 years ago allow the organization to hand over the keys without publicly admitting failure. In the West Bank and the diaspora – though for obvious reasons, not in Gaza – Palestinians actually admire its choice to arm itself and confront Israel militarily. That would suffice for Israel to justify its opposition to the reconciliation, if the UN’s threatening forecast of Gaza becoming uninhabitable by 2020 weren’t looming over our heads.

[...] Some Gaza residents said the delegation from Ramallah entered like victorious conquerors.