Polls: Gaza Disengagement and Policy Considerations

January 23, 2011


With most international attention of late in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the question of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the topic of Gaza has fallen notably to the wayside. This is in part because little has changed there since Operation Cast Lead in December 2008. Abducted Israeli serviceman Gilad Shalit is still held prisoner somewhere in the Strip, Hamas is still the reigning power estranged from the Palestinian Authority, and the Israeli maritime blockade (although considerably loosened) is still in place.

Gaza has just today returned to the headlines because of two stories. In the first, the Israeli government-appointed Turkel Commission has completed its internal investigation into the Israeli raid on the activist flotilla which attempted to breach the naval blockade in May 2010. The raid reached its climax when Israeli commandos boarded the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, were attacked by the passengers, and resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals. The Israeli commission found that the raid was legal under international law and the Israeli soldiers acted in self-defense. It also ruled that the Israeli naval blockade has caused a “lack of nutritional stability” rather than starvation and is legal in accordance with international law. The Turkish government has also dismissed the report, claiming it has “no value or credibility.”

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Another Side of the Gaza Disengagement

December 22, 2010

gush-katifMy research here in Israel focuses on the relationship between Israeli public opinion and government policy on territorial concessions. In my studies, I have interviewed people across the political spectrum, from the far left to the far right and just about every point in-between.

Although their specific policy preferences and objectives have varied considerably, all have been passionately engaged in the question of Israel’s territorial future. One theme which has regularly arisen is that of the 2005 unilateral disengagement from Gaza, known in Hebrew as the hitnatkut (cutting oneself off) or gairush (expulsion). One’s political views on the event can be quickly discerned from word choice. Those who express the former see the disengagement as a necessary removal of Israeli control over a hostile territory while those who express the latter see it as a criminal wrenching of fellow Jews from their homes.

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