Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Give Gaza to Egypt

Conversations about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict tend to be rather like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict itself, quickly descending into a series of escalating attacks and counter-attacks, bitterness and recriminations. I don’t know if the conflict is really capable of being resolved in any satisfactory way, certainly not in the foreseeable future, but unless we want to just throw up our hands and admit defeat (not a bad strategy, actually), we need to be open to new and creative ways of resolving the conflict.

On that note, Jewish World Review has an interesting article up today by Daniel Pipes (yes, yes, I know) suggesting that Israel should try and solve its current difficulties in Gaza by giving the strip back to Egypt.

Washington and other capitals should declare the experiment in Gazan self-rule a failure and press President Husni Mubarak of Egypt to help, perhaps providing Gaza with additional land or even annexing it as a province. This would revert to the situation of 1948-67, except this time Cairo would not keep Gaza at arm’s length but take responsibility for it.

Culturally, this connection is a natural: Gazans speak a colloquial Arabic identical to the Egyptians of Sinai, have more family ties to Egypt than to the West Bank, and are economically more tied to Egypt (recall the many smugglers’ tunnels). Further, Hamas derives from an Egyptian organization, the Muslim Brethren.

Personally, I think this idea has a lot of merit. Israel would be better off, both because it would no longer have to play the role of occupier (or, if you will, oppressor) in Gaza and because the Egyptian government would be a lot easier to deal with than Hamas. The Palestinians would be better off, because they would no longer be trapped in the failed state that is the Gaza strip. if the Palestinians want an independent state, I don’t see how they are less likely to get one from Egypt than from Israel, so that shouldn’t be a factor. And to the extent that the transfer would lessen tensions in the region, that’s good for everyone. I suspect, though, that Egypt would never go for it. If you were an Egyptian dictator, would you want to add more than a million poor people and who knows how many anti-government Islamic militants to the population of your country? I know I wouldn’t.

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January 30, 2008 - Posted by | Israel

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