Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gaza's Borderline Chaos

The Washington Post finally catches onto the chaos in Gaza that Debka has been predicting for a few weeks.
ONLY DAYS after the final withdrawal of Israeli forces, the Gaza Strip is on the verge of anarchy. Despite promises to impose law and order, the Palestinian Authority has allowed mobs of looters and armed extremists to rampage through former Jewish settlements, where they have burned or bulldozed synagogues left standing by Israel. Many of the valuable greenhouses that, with the generous help of international donors, were saved for use by the Palestinians have been stripped of equipment as police stood by and watched. Despite a formal agreement with Israel to maintain security, Egypt has allowed thousands of Palestinians to illegally cross its border, including rifle-brandishing militants. If it is not quickly checked, the disorder will destroy Palestinian hopes that the Gaza transfer will become a step toward statehood.
Actually, I think a lot of Palestinians are hoping for exactly what is most likely to occur -- that Gaza will become a full fledged terrorist state. That's the kind of state many of the people there seem to want. And the fact that Hamas blasted a hole in the Wall between Egypt and Gaza means that this is likely to happen sooner rather than later.

Debka has a rather more straightforward warning, written without any of the lingering, self-deluding naïveté of the Washington Post's editorial.
The Palestinians poured their entire Sinai arms dumps into Gaza, taking advantage of four days of unrestricted border transit

With them came a fresh influx of terrorists, including arrivals from Lebanon.

According to DEBKAfile’s Exclusive’s military sources, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Jihad Islami and other Palestinian groups have poured many tons of explosives, rockets, RPGs and missiles into Gaza. An Israeli officer estimated the quantity would have kept three large Sinai-Rafah arms tunnels busy around the clock for a year.
Thursday, September 15, thousands of Palestinians continued to flock unchecked by Egyptian or Palestinian police across the Gaza-Egyptian border through the Rafah Sultan refugee camp. All the Egyptians are doing is replacing the damaged patches of barbed wire along the Philadelphi route and resealing the holes in the border wall.
I expect there is going to be a serious war sometime soon. A new round of the intifada. In the meantime, I wonder what the internecine struggle in Gaza is going to look like.

Ha'aretz notes further on the arms entering Gaza:
The quantity of arms Palestinians have managed to smuggle over the past three days remains unclear. However, it is known that large quantities of rocket-propelled grenade launchers were brought in. It is also known that various organizations - not only Hamas, but also the Palestinian security services - had large arms caches in Sinai awaiting an opportunity for them to be smuggled over the border.
Gaza, unfortunately, not Iraq, is going to turn the terrorist state that the Bush administration does have the responsibility for helping to create. All out of some politically correct calculus that demands everyone shirks the reality of Palestinian history. Still, Gaza is a better place for this failed experiment than the West Bank, which is larger and more difficult to control.

And even then, when Gaza turns fully chaotic and into a self-willed terrorist homeland, the PA officials will be blaming this feat on Israel. As they have done so often in the past.

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