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Gaza Breakdown Is The Regional Aim

The Gaza Breakdown from the Baltimore Sun is worth your reading time this morning.

Psychiatrist Eyad el-Sarraj can be as caustic as any Palestinian in condemning Israel's 40-year occupation of the Gaza Strip. But he speaks with admiration approaching awe of Israelis' kindness during his own bone marrow treatment two years ago at Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, outside Tel Aviv. Other Palestinians there got similar attention, he says, adding, "This is something I will never forget."

Business consultant Sami Abdel-Shafi has heard sentiments similar to Mr. el-Sarraj's from older laborers who used to be allowed to work in Israel. But younger people haven't had the same exposure and harbor a darker view, he says. Indeed, the prospect that many Gazans will again recognize human qualities in Israelis is shrinking, and with it the chance of reconciliation between two peoples that is essential for lasting peace.

Those who drive the conflict from outside the Palestinian territories can ill-afford the younger Palestinian generation many glimpses into Israel and personal dealings with Israelis, lest they too begin to dismiss the conflict-driving propaganda. They cannot be allowed to lose their embrace of ideas such as that Israeli Jews are the 'descendants of pigs and monkeys' who drink the blood of Palestinian youths.

And so the rockets continue to fly from Gaza into Israel. And regional players preserve their patient, irrational drive "from the river to the sea." The Palestinian conflict is and always has been less about the Palestinians - whom few in the region reach out to beyond arms supplies and minimal sustenance - and far more about the interests of those who claim to champion their cause.