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The Road Out of Gaza.

The Road Out of Gaza &prog=zgp&proj=zme

By Nathan J. Brown (Carnegie Endowment & George Washington University)

Professor Nathan Brown, a specialist in Middle Eastern studies, has published four books in the field since 1990. He has received Fulbright grants to study in Egypt and the Gulf and to teach in Israel. In this commentary, Dr. Brown focuses on one geographically limited but highly intractable, complex threat to regional peace--the Gaza Strip imbroglio. He reviews the background that has led to the "stunningly bleak" life there under Hamas. Add in the elements of blockade, the Hamas-Fatah divisions, institutional decay, and the context of political chaos and one has a clear picture of Palestine as a failed state.

The author suggests in broad outline a strategy that involves calming the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation. Brown does not, however, suggest "engaging" Hamas as a pre-condition to restoring the pre-June 2006 arrangements. And he notes the negative American attitudes toward Hamas. The policy path Brown lays out has, he notes, real risks, especially given that elections would be involved. But that path, he writes, seems more likely to have positive results than the current international strategy of total isolation, "abstract" diplomacy, a modicum of aid, and military operations.

Clearly the recent actions by Israel in imposing a blockade, which led to the destruction of portions of the wall dividing Gaza from Egypt, have been a retrograde move. Two years after Hamas' electoral victory in Gaza, conditions in this Israeli-Palestinian drama show no signs of improvement. It might be well for all concerned to heed Professor Brown's proffered steps toward ameliorating the continuing, difficult problem.

Reviewed by Henry E. Mattox, Contributing Editor
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Author:Mattox, Henry E.
Publication:American Diplomacy
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 8, 2008
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