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Old 01-06-2009, 03:33 PM   #1
jfrenaye
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Default Gaza Strip Ignorance

I know it has been going on longer than I have been alive, but what is the significance of the Gaza Strip? Is it the access to the water?
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:15 PM   #2
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In a word, yes. As a result, it has great strategic importance to an eventual Palestinian state. Without Gaza, Palestine would not have sea access, as the West Bank is land locked. Eventually the sea access at Gaza will be an important source of commerce and shipping for a Palestinian State.

Here's some Gaza history:

In the early 1500's Gaza fell to the Ottomans who ruled it until 1799. All during that time the people of Gaza maintained close contacts with the Christian Europe, and then in 1799 Napoleon captured Gaza City.

In the early 1800s, Gaza was actually dominated by neighboring Egypt and by 1832 Egypt annexed Gaza, but later in the 1800's the Ottomans took it over again. A significant number Egyptians and their descendants remained in Gaza to escape the political turmoil which was Egypt at that point in history.

Gaza was an important battlefield during World War I because of it's strategic coastline and the coastal roads which went through it. Eventually the British took Gaza in 1917.

After the war, Gaza was merged into the British Mandate of Palestine by the League of Nations. This is where the roots of much of today's troubles start.

England was required to implement the Balfour Declaration establishing in Palestine a "national home for the Jewish people. That being declared, the British were also supposed to accomplish this with out doing anything which "might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The Arabs living in Palestine and the rest of the Arab world didn't believe the League of Nations, the British, or later the UN could legitimately declare and carryout that Declaration.

You have to agree that much of that is justified, but at the same time large numbers of Jews had continuously lived in Palestine from antiquity and under Arab rule were severely discriminated against, often murdered, and Jewish sites sacked and destroyed and lands confiscated.

It was a land which had a "high tension" "peace" which wasn't much of a peace.

Jews had lived in Gaza from antiquity, but in the 1929 Palestine riots, were forced out by the Arabs there. Following the riots the British prohibited Jews from living in Gaza. Some defied the British and Arabs and in 1946, re-established kibbutz Kfar Darom in central Gaza.

We know, of course, that British rule of Palestine ended with the UN mandated partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state on May 15, 1948, and on that day the Arab–Israeli War began.

According to the UN partition plan, Gaza area was to become part of a new Arab state.

That land is now known as the Gaza Strip and is the product of the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Egypt and Israel. It's referred to as the Green Line.

Egypt occupied the Strip from 1949, except for four months of Israeli occupation during the 1956 Suez Crisis, until 1967. The Strip's population was greatly augmented by an influx of Palestinian Arab refugees who fled from Israel during the fighting.

In September 1948, an All-Palestine Government was proclaimed in Gaza City by the Arab League, conceived as an Arab League attempt to limit the influence of Transjordan over the Palestinian issue. Interestingly, the government was not recognized by Transjordan or any non-Arab country. It was really a piece of land totally under Egyptian control. Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip or Egypt were issued All-Palestine passports. Then in 1959, Nasser annulled the All-Palestine government by decree, but never annexed the Strip. Egypt administered it through a military governor, and its residents were not eligible to become Egyptian citizens.

During the Sinai campaign of November 1956, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula were overrun by Israeli troops, but under international pressure Israel withdrew.

Israel occupied the Gaza Strip again in June 1967 during the Six-Day War. Their military occupation lasted for 27 years, until 1994. However, according to the Oslo Accords, Israel retains control of air space, territorial waters, offshore maritime access, the population registry, entry of foreigners, imports and exports as well as the tax system. In essence, as many have said, Gaza is still under Israeli control.

Even with the Hamas takeover from the Palestinian Authority, Israel, via control of its borders except for the border with Egypt, and its airspace and sea access to a substantial point controls what happens in Gaza, especially considering Egypt historically even more severly control their border crossing with Gaza, than Israel.

I think that brings us to today.

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Originally Posted by jfrenaye View Post
I know it has been going on longer than I have been alive, but what is the significance of the Gaza Strip? Is it the access to the water?
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:22 PM   #3
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Thanks....
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:43 PM   #4
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That is a good synopsis of the history of Gaza. I don't think many people could argue that it is biased one way or the other.
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
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Thanks M.

Like I support the people of my native country, the United States of America, through thick and thin, I support the people of Israel through thick and thin.

Having said that doesn't mean I support every decision our government makes, or every decision the government of Israel makes. In fact Netanyahu's party probably has put me on their enemies list. There is very little that Benjamin and I agree on, except for our love of the US and Israel. I have a not very fond link with Benjamin. We went to the same high school.

Personally, I think being the loyal opposition when needed, in the face of people who call you traitor and unpatriotic, etc. is being about as patriotic as possible.

I have never been to Gaza, but I've been on the West Bank many times, and I've found the Palestinian people very warm, with an incredible sense of humor, but in discussions with them I felt that they've been sold a bill of goods about Israel which will be hard to get past. I see many Israelis so incredibly strident about their rights (generally those in the territories' settlements), in a similar vein to the Palestinians that it too will be hard to get past. There has been so much incredible posturing there on both sides. I wish I could go over to both of them and first give them a good spanking as a grandparent, and then tell them to get over it, because it's in each of their best interests to do so. I look at them as a bunch of 6 year olds who haven't yet learned how to back down and resolve differences peacefully.

I firmly believe this. If the Palestinian people can't figure out that Hamas and groups like them are not the answer to their dreams, there will not be peace any time soon. If the Israeli people can't figure out that Likud party and their maniacal stance on settlements and a final two state settlement map are not the answer to their dreams, there will not be peace any time soon.

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Originally Posted by mercwyn View Post
That is a good synopsis of the history of Gaza. I don't think many people could argue that it is biased one way or the other.
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Old 01-07-2009, 02:45 PM   #6
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I agree with you that until both sides agree that fighting is a waste, there won't be peace. And that is a shame because so many wonderful people are going to be maimed or killed and all for naught.
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercwyn View Post
...And that is a shame because so many wonderful people are going to be maimed or killed and all for naught.
Absolutely true, and on both sides.
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