Decision-makers have provided divergent reasons for Israel's recent decision to impose sanctions on Gaza, suggesting a lack of an 'organizing logic' in Israel's policy vis-à-vis Hamas and the Gaza Strip.
During the past week, Israeli officials have expressed at least three different reasons explaining Israel's policy of reducing electricity and fuel provided to the Gaza Strip. The sanctions have been defined as punitive measures (Washington Post, 10/30/07; Ha'aretz, 10/26/07); as a means to exert pressure on the Hamas government in Gaza to reduce Kassam rockets (Jerusalem Post, 10/29/07); or as a completion of Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip (Associated Press, 10/29/07).
The divergent explanations behind the decision to impose sanctions reflect a lack of 'organizing logic' behind Israel's policy towards Gaza.
Since Hamas gained control of Gaza, Israel's policy was aimed at 'weakening' the Hamas government. However, the final objective of that policy has yet to be clearly defined. Is the objective of 'weakening' the Hamas government to bring it down? If so, what is the alternative to Hamas' rule in Gaza?
A clear definition of Israel's interests regarding the Gaza Strip will help Israeli decision-makers to conceptualize and shape their long-term policies and address the challenges.
El Deeb, S., Associated Press, 10/29/07.
Harel, A., Ravid, B., Ha'aretz, 10/26/07.
Williams, D., Washington Post, 10/30/07.
Jerusalem Post, 10/29/07.