Ten months after the Israeli invasion of Gaza, there is little economic development and growing pessimism among the population. Egypt and Israel’s three-year-old embargo keeps factories shut and 80% of the population gets by thanks to international assistance. Despite the misery, the territory has near 100% literacy, a significant number of people hold advanced university degrees and Gaza boasts lower infant mortality than most states in the region. However, the embargo and division of Palestinian territories between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank will mean further isolation for Gaza. The two groups have been unable to agree on elections and so the election planned by Fatah probably means no voting in Gaza. The Israelis permit 100 trucks a day into Gaza with food and medicine, but has shut most other commerce to provoke anger towards Hamas by Gaza’s inhabitants. Although resentment is growing, say analysts, there is no realistic mechanism for regime change. The Israelis want to isolate Hamas because it rejects Israel’s existence; Egypt rejects it because of its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. And both worry about Iran arming Hamas. Makes for a swell neighbourhood, doesn’t it? For more: The New York Times
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