A Knesset session held July 11th caught little media attention. On Wednesday Ariel Sharon's disengagement strategy came to completion. By being legally determined a "foreign entity," the Gaza Strip is no longer Israel's responsibility.
The passed bill reads as follows,
"Today, when Israeli communities cease to exist in the Gaza area, any Israeli activity in this area is a defensive activity in every sense of the word. In that case, there is no room for damage lawsuits from people who are residents of an entity which is not the State of Israel, all the more so from residents of an entity which sponsors actions against the State of Israel."
The issue being raised at this Knesset session was whether Israel would be liable by law to compensate Palestinians for damages that occur during IDF incursions into Gaza. Yet, what is really at stake is whether Israel is historically responsible for the Gaza Strip as a territory it occupies. Immediately after Israel's disengagement from Gaza in October of 2005 an attempt was made to divest itself of its legal role over a territory it occupies. In December 2006 the Israeli high Court overruled a Knesset law that would prevent the state from bearing any responsibility for Palestinian damages accrued during Israeli attacks. Today this overruling was overruled.
In 1948 Israel forced over 200,000 Palestinian refugees to flee to the Gaza Strip. Since that day it has tried to strip itself of any responsibility for these refugees and their descendants. This week that dream seems to have come true and Hamas' military takeover has served as perfect justification. One wonders what Israel has stood to gain from recent events in Gaza. What exactly did Fatah warlord Mohamed Dahlan mean when he spoke of Hamas falling "into a trap?" Who set the trap?