The State of Gaza

Israeli Y-Net reports that Abu-Mazen, speaking in the United Arab Emirates, declared his intention to keep Gaza and the West Bank united as One Palestine Complete. I don’t think it will happen–and I’m not so sure that having two states wouldn’t be a bad idea.
This has nothing at all to do with Israel and what is good for it. Frankly, Israel will have to deal with whatever is best for the Palestinians when it comes to their domestic political decisions, including whether they want to stay united or not. (by disengaging and thereby ending the occupation, Israel would allow the Palestinians to start figuring that part out). And, from my experience with West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians, there isn’t the unity that some would expect.
One part of the lack of unity is due to perceptions. While I realize that generalizations always miss some of the truth, there is something to the fact that many West Bank Palestinians look down on the Gazans, thinking they are provincial and of a lower class, while Gazans think the West Bankers are haughty and elitist.
Another reason for the lack of unity has to do with the possible routes to development. Gaza–with access to the Mediterranean–could potentially become a city-state on the sea, strengthening its independence by building economic ties with countries along the sea. The West Bank, on the other-hand, will be increasingly dependent on the Jordanians and Israelis for access to trade and international contacts–and will therefore be better suited to hi-tech and non-heavy goods production.
The convergence of these two aspects of the West Bank/Gaza future leads me to think that it could be better for the Gazans not to unite with the West Bank. And I think that, after the disengagement eases the half-grip the corrupt Palestinian Authority has on the population, much of the Gazan street will think the same. In other words, I wouldn’t hold Abu Mazen to his words.


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