Monday, September 12, 2005

Palestinians take over Gaza

[EDIT: Similiar and interesting posts: Orthomom, SoccerDad, and Amshinover]

Yesterday, the Palestinian Authority was distraught over the Israeli Supreme Court's ruling that the government should not destroy synagogues in Gaza before finishing the disengagement.
The Palestinians said they would boycott a planned handover ceremony later Sunday to protest against the failure to reach an agreement on a vital border crossing and the expected decision by Israel not to demolish about two dozen synagogues in Gaza.
"They throw these two problems in our faces, and it's really unfair," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

One would think the Palestinians would just be happy with taking over the rest of Gaza, but they are primarily upset about the synagogues, where they had serious fears about what might happen:
The Palestinians have detailed plans for the settlement areas, and the synagogues would be in the way. However, they fear international criticism if they demolish the buildings or if the structures are defaced by Palestinian crowds targeting symbols of occupation. Some 15,000 Palestinian security forces are to be deployed around the settlement area by the time the last Israeli soldiers are leaving Monday morning, to keep out large crowds celebrating the pullout.
This was especially true, given the situation in the rest of Gaza, despite the large presence of Palestinian security forces.
Gaza has shown increasing signs of lawlessness ahead of the Israeli withdrawal. In the latest unrest, gunmen briefly abducted an Italian journalist, seized two government buildings and fired shots at a third on Saturday.
Those fears came true today:
Ecstatic crowds of Palestinians flooded into empty Jewish settlements early Monday, setting abandoned synagogues on fire in a chaotic celebration of the end of 38 years of Israeli military rule over the Gaza Strip.
Plans by Palestinian police to bar crowds from the settlements quickly disintegrated, and militant groups hoisted flags and fired wildly into the air, illustrating the weakness of the security forces and concerns about their ability to control growing chaos in Gaza. The pullout is widely seen as a test for Palestinian aspirations of statehood.
The Palestinian leaders were hoping that if the synagogues were already destroyed, the people would have nothing left to destroy and therefore look terrible on international television. Instead, they would celebrate the return of their "lost land" and show the world that their dreams of return and independence are being fulfilled.
By leaving the synagogues intact, the Israelis allowed the Palestinians to show their true colors: They are far more interested in a "victory" over the "infidels" than they are in independence for themselves - the only state they want to build is over the rubble of the State of Israel.
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