Anopinion about Gaza

I guess first I advise you to read this timely reminder (I swear I was going to write that but was less timely).

I am now going to discuss what I think should be done for the people who live in the Gaza strip. I know it won’t happen

First I confess that roughly 20 years ago (the day Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister) I decided that the Israeli/Palestinian case was hopeless and tried to tune out — people are suffering — but many people are suffering in many other places and maybe we can do something for them.

I think it is clear that too many people live in the Gaza strip — one of the most densely populated and poorest areas of the world. There are no jobs. There isn’t enough water. All have always agreed it makes no sense. Palestinian refugees in the Gaza strip in 1948 were determined to return to Israel. Now their children and grandchildren are still there. I think they should be allowed to move somewhere else if they choose. This is universally agreed (Arabs say move to Israel — most others say move to Egypt). My view is that is too limited, and they should be allowed to move to, say, Rome (where I live) or the suburbs of Washington DC (I generally support open borders).

This will not happen (see “hopeless”). Partly lots of people would benefit from migration and aren’t allowed. Also particularly, Hamas terrorists (and the displays demonstrating at least some popular support) make people from the Gaza strip extremely undesired as immigrants.

Another point is that this would be self- ethnic cleansing and is what Netanyahu wants. So ?

I write partly because the always fascinating, typically brilliant, and occasionally reasonable Noah SMith proposed a three state solution in which the Gaza strip became a country. He explains why one and two state solutions won’t work and then gets to three.

The problem is with arguing that the Gaza strip could be a country fit for human habitation.

“Economics would be another powerful incentive. Right now, cut off from seaborne trade, Gaza isn’t able to build wealth. Its per capita GDP is estimated at just $1257, making it one of the most impoverished places on Earth. If it were independent and could carry out seaborne trade, this number would undoubtedly shoot up — Lebanon’s per capita GDP is about 3x as high. The easiest industry to spin up would simply be tourism — Gaza has a lot of nice beaches, plenty of historical sites, etc. In the future it would be a destination for investment from Turkey and possibly the Gulf states and Europe.”

Look Noah, murder rape and kidnapping are not the way to attract tourists. Who would visit the Gaza strip ? Gulf Arabs have their own beaches and much more important historical sights. I think Gaza’s main claim to fame is that Samson was allegedly there long ago.

Also it’s been tried. The Oslo approach was Gaza and Jericho first. Gaza was open to international trade (there was even a Gaza international airport). This did not work. The develop as a country in formerly occupied territory was the Al Fatah strategy (among many many other strategies all followed at once). Hamas won an election. The issue was not Fatah focus on the West Bank. The issue was that a whole lot of Palestinians want to destroy Israel.

Also a whole lot of ethnic Palestinians get along OK with Israel — many in Israel, many in Jordan, and many managing small businesses providing goods and services to oil-state Gulf Arabs. They all have something in common — they don’t live in the Gaza strip, so they can make a decent life for themselves.

I say the only hope is emigration/self ethnic cleansing. There is no chance it will be allowed. There is no hope.

Even the Liberal Jonathan Chait is Fed up with Netanyahu, Angry Bear, Robert Waldmann