The two Palestinian enclaves of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are now two separate countries.
Hamas, in what appears to have been a long-planned attack, surprised Fatah in the Gaza Strip and, after several days of intense fighting, have overwhelmed their erstwhile alliance partners in government. The bizarre war included the actual residents of Gaza organising an ad hoc protest to declare their desire for peace. Hamas and Fatah soldiers fired on them, killing dozens. Recognising the inevitable, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President, dissolved parliament.
The Israelis are in a tough position. They don’t want Hamas in charge but they can’t leap in to defend one side against the other. Neither can they supply arms when it is clear that those arms will fall into the hands of Hamas. So they simply closed their borders and watched nervously from the outside. Along with everyone else. The real failure appears to be with the Egyptians who have allowed Hamas to use their shared border to smuggle the arms that formed part of this well-laid plan.
So, at the dawn of the weekend, this is the situation. Israel now has two semi-autonomous Palestinian nations to deal with, one in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip.
Negotiations with Fatah will probably go ahead but there is no way that Hamas will negotiate. Now, here I need advice from anyone with knowledge of international law.
To all intents and purposes Hamas is now a government in a sovereign state. If they insist on firing rockets over the border into a contiguous and sovereign neighbour then they have committed an act of war. Instead of the tit-for-tat that we have seen over the past few years, we may see an all-out occupation. Perhaps that is what Hamas wants in an effort to further destabilise the region. Perhaps not.
A continent away is Zimbabwe. A few years ago Robert Mugabe, their ageing dictator-for-life, stripped farmers of their land and handed it out to his cronies in government. Food production plummeted along with everything else. 80% of the country is unemployed and 33% are in exile; 4 million of them in South Africa. It is expected that the country will collapse shortly. Inflation is well over 3,700% but is spiralling out of control with prices doubling every month. At this rate economists expect it to bludgeon up to the improbable level of 500,000% over the next six months. At which point life isn’t worth living, really and we South Africans should expect an overwhelming exodus in our direction.
Zimbabwe, Palestine. Two disasters, both man-made. And in neither case can you conceivably point out that this is a result of international capitalism (or any capitalism for that matter). We may worry about employers exploiting workers, or polluting the environment, but to really fuck things up completely takes politics.