One of Israel's major newspapers has described the siege of Gaza as a "foolish plot" which will backfire on Israel. The responsibility for this, said Haaretz, will lie with the Netanyahu government.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, an editorial insisted, will be directly responsible for any future war that could erupt in the Gaza Strip as a result of the deteriorating humanitarian situation, due to the severe Israeli siege and punitive measures imposed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Under the heading "Israel is responsible for the next Gaza war" the editorial said that, "Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot's warning that the economic collapse in Gaza could cause a military confrontation soon cannot be clearer."
The article continued: "It seems that the undoubted link between economic hardship and potential explosion is inevitable, but the government of Israel is still captive to a theory which threatens state security. This theory is based on the assumption that the worse that the situation of Gaza citizens is, the weaker the Hamas rule becomes."
The newspaper pointed out that "even if we ignore the moral aspects of hardship, poverty and lack of political and economic prospects, the policy of siege and war against the continuation of Hamas rule contains contradictions that are difficult to reconcile." Ten years of blockade have proved that the Israeli policy is not useful, Haaretz pointed out. "The Hamas rule has not weakened but received support from the government of Israel, which is responsible for everything that is happening in the Gaza Strip. But, at the same time, it does not allow Hamas to manage the civil infrastructure in the strip, or let more than two million Palestinians live a decent life."
The newspaper admitted that the Israeli entity seeks to overthrow the rule of Hamas through a civil revolution, but it has not yet erupted. In addition, Israel does not have a policy which clarifies who will manage Gaza after the fall of Hamas.
It explained that Israel put two "impossible" conditions on the plan to rebuild the Gaza Strip, which it provided on the basis that the donor countries would fund these projects and the plan will only be implemented under the administration of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.
According to Haaretz, what Israel is trying to promote – some ease for the Gaza Strip – through donor countries supporting Gaza is thus conditional. Even if they agree, it added, the population of Gaza will become prisoners of the Palestinian Authority. "This is happening at a time when Israel is fighting any cooperation between Hamas and Fatah, and the PA cannot control Gaza without it," the newspaper said, referring to Israeli obstacles to Palestinian reconciliation.
This is the context of Israel's claim that it is not responsible for the disaster in Gaza. "If there is a military confrontation in Gaza," Haaretz noted, "the pretext of holding Hamas alone responsible for this confrontation cannot be accepted."
In conclusion, the Haaretz editorial said that, "The Israeli government must immediately initiate a radical change in its policy, allow the establishment of factories and grant Gaza residents more work permits, allow foreign investment and expand export permits, otherwise it will be directly responsible for the next war."