INTO THE FRAY- A port for Gaza: Infinite imbecility?

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

A port for Gaza: Infinite imbecility?

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Hamas and its terror affiliates are not burrowing tunnels, flying incendiary kites and firing rockets at Israeli civilians because Gaza has no port. They are doing so despite the fact that it does not have one!

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):

ISRAEL RISING: (To be posted)
JNS (abbreviated version):

Several short excerpts:

It is difficult not to recall this rather pungent maxim—widely attributed to Albert Einstein—in light of recent reports that the Israeli government is once again raising the issue of providing a port for Gaza.

In principle, of course, it may be possible to conjure up a more preposterous and pernicious proposal—but it certainly would not be easy…

A tale of two…islands?

 Defense Minister Liberman
Defense Minister Liberman

…In the past, attention was focused mainly on the bizarre idea of creating an artificial island (detachable in times of conflict), about three kilometers off the Gazan shore, whose construction would cost billions and take a good number of years to complete….

In the last few days, however, a new and even more ludicrous version of the “port for Gaza” concept has emerged—reportedly with the backing of the Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman—involving another island, this time a naturally occurring one and one much further removed from Gaza: Cyprus!…

Even kites have become “dual purpose”

Kites in Gaza: Expanding the term “dual purpose”
Kites in Gaza: Expanding the term “dual purpose”

..Clearly, in a single opinion column, it is not possible to enumerate—much less, to elaborate and discuss—all the flaws and detriments of these harebrained and hazardous schemes. As I have dealt with some of these defects elsewhere—see for example here and here—I shall confine myself to a brutally abbreviated list:

How could Israel control the use of “dual purpose” materials once they were imported? This would include—among others—imports of fertilizer (used in production of explosives), iron, steel and other metals (used in the production of rockets, missiles and their launchers) and cement (used in the construction of terror tunnels)…

Merely a reconfiguration of the “occupation”

Perhaps, most crucially, what will constitute a legitimate reason for terminating the operation of the port (or detaching access to it)? Who will be authorized to do so? If that is exclusively an Israeli prerogative, how does this arrangement reduce Israeli control of life in Gaza? If it is not, how can Israel ensure that prohibited merchandize, that endangers its security, will not continue to flow?

These are merely a small sample of the deeply troubling questions as to the prospects and the prudence of providing a port for Gaza.

Inverting causality

…The Arab enmity towards Israel is the cause, not the consequence, of the dire socio-economic conditions in Gaza…This prosperity-prevents-terror thesis is hopelessly misguided. Indeed, it is risible to believe that Hamas, who has deliberately put its own civilians in harm’s way, gives a hoot about their economic well-being. Clearly then, if it has scant regard for their lives, why should their livelihood be of greater concern?…

Fostering future extortion

Israeli port of Ashdod about 20 mls from Gaza
Israeli port of Ashdod about 20 mls from Gaza

…For clearly, if by holding the remains of IDF soldiers—and two reportedly unstable civilians—hostage, the terror organization is able to extort a harbor, it is extremely difficult to imagine that this will not be construed as a clear invitation to persist with precisely such extortion….Indeed, no great analytical acumen is required to grasp that, for Gaza, a port will never be a panacea for the poverty of the population. Nor are Hamas, and its other terrorist cohorts, burrowing tunnels, flying incendiary kites and firing rockets at Israeli civilians because Gaza has no port….To the contrary, they are doing so despite the fact it does not have one!

The ultimate irony…and absurdity

However, the ultimate irony—and absurdity—in this sorry saga is that Gaza already has a port…in the nearby Israeli city of Ashdod (about 20 miles away), which is closer to Gaza than most other population centers in Israel.

In times of peace—or even durable non-belligerency—Ashdod can provide for all Gaza’s commercial needs. And in times of war, or military conflict, is anyone seriously suggesting they have a port??

Geez. I wonder what Einstein would say

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

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