links for 2007-06-16
Kevin Drum: Why Oh Why Can't We Have Better Right-Wing Think Tanks?

Hilzoy and Hassam al-Madhoun: The Darkness Has Fallen

Hilzoy tells us to go listen to Hassam al-Madhoun talk about the latest disaster inflicted on the Palestinian people by their so-called leaders:

Obsidian Wings: The Darkness Has Fallen: The darkness has fallen and invaded all of the Gaza Strip. We tried to protest against the war today, but gunmen shot at us when we tried to cross the street. This was a peaceful demonstration to try to get these gunmen to stop killing our future, to stop killing our hope. The darkness has fallen. There are no other words. Gaza is not a place for human beings anymore.

Hamas and Fatah have defeated the Palestinian people. Both factions have triumphed against the hope for the future, for a state of our own. These factions are killing the future for my daughter. She is six years old and has to live through this senseless civil war. Yes, it's a civil war to me — you can call it what you like.

This has to stop; these young killers in the street are just boys. They're 17, 19, and 21 years old. They've become killers and they don't realize that they're just being used — by both factions. They're being used by the political leaders who are shouting every day on the satellite TV news shows. These so-called leaders in suits are the real killers, turning our boys into murderers.

It will take generations to recover from all this. It will take so long to change this violent culture we've become. If we start today, it will take years. It's become so easy for any young boy to hold a gun and shoot. We now have a generation of damaged youth....

Many people here — including myself — think that the West is doing everything it can to weaken the Palestinian Authority. And Israel is, as well. All of their acts are aimed at Hamas, but they have also weakened Fatah, the more moderate faction here in Gaza. This is hypocrisy by the West and Israel as they steal the hope by tightening this economic embargo against the Palestinian people. Desperate people don't think rationally. Desperate people turn radical. And that is just what is happening in Gaza...

Hilzoy comments:

There are nearly one and a half million people in the Gaza strip, crammed into a territory 25 miles long and around six miles wide, give or take. People were living on under two dollars a day before the elections and the subsequent withholding of revenues and suspension of aid. It relies on Israel for all its water, electricity, and lots of other things. Israel has sealed the borders to Gaza, and it is entirely unclear what's going to happen to its Egyptian border crossings. It was run by Europeans, but they have left. In any case, they had to come via Israel, and it's not clear that that will still be possible; in any case, Egypt might seal the border. Moreover, it's not clear how Hamas would go about arranging anything with Israel -- e.g., water, electricity, borders -- since Israel will not talk to Hamas.

I don't suppose that most Gazans wanted this civil war. It takes a lot less than a majority of people to start one. A majority did vote for Hamas, but by all accounts that was less a vote for Hamas' militancy than a vote against Fatah's sclerotic corruption.

A lot of people who just want to live normal lives are about to become even more desperate than they were before. Meanwhile, the chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, which haven't been all that great recently, just plummeted to a point indistinguishable from zero, where I think it will stay for the foreseeable future.

And remember: things can always get worse.