EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The only solution to Gaza’s longstanding plight is for it to be designated an “International Quarantine Zone,” with Israel severing all ties to the Strip and the Egyptian border crossing in Rafah becoming the sole point of entry. Responsibility for Gaza will thus be transferred to the UN and the Arab League. They, via Egypt’s good offices and Arab oil funding, can then strive to ensure the economic wellbeing of the people of Gaza and pave the road for the return of the PA and the end of Hamas rule in the Strip.
In the summer of 2005, the Israeli government, headed by PM Ariel Sharon, unilaterally disengaged from Gaza, removing thousands of Israeli residents from their homes in the Strip and transferring them to Israeli territory. This move, which was highly controversial in view of the lack of any reciprocity from Israel’s official “peace partner,” the Palestinian Authority (PA), was designed to bring calm to Israel’s southern border. Instead it ushered in a sweeping victory for Hamas in the January 2006 elections, as the group was widely seen as the catalyst to the Israeli withdrawal. Within a year and a half, Hamas had seized total power in the Strip and evicted the PA.