In what has been lablled an "amazing turnaround" Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has upturned Ariel Sharon's policy of not trading with the Palestinian Authority. Gaza's only natural resource, natural gas located in the Mediteranean was discovered by British Gas Group 7 years ago.
Israel's Jerusalem Post reported, "The change of heart, government officials said, was simply the product of economics, since buying the gas from Egypt, another option, would cost twice as much."
The Times quoted Nigel Shaw, the BG Group vice-president in the region saying, "this is a chance for greater economic prosperity in Palestine and that is only good for peace."
Such a statement loses its validity asIsrael reportedly plans to pay the PA with "goods and services." This would continue Gaza's status as a massive prison where goods are going in and few are coming out. If this deal goes forward as planned, it would play no role in boosting the Palestinian economy, the most vital of needs for Palestinians today, and rather furthers its status as a detention center with no hope of economic progress.
Israel's sudden change of heart, is another form of hyopcritical exploitation of Palestinians, receiving rare Gazan resources in exchange for humanitarian services that further bind Palestinians in external reliance. This is one more undone opportunity for the building of Gaza's future.
Since the forming of the new Hamas government in May 2006, Israel continues to withhold monthly tax payments of $600 million that it is required to pay the PA. At the end of the day, Israel continues to do what it wants and gets what it wants at the cost of the Palestinians.