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I learned something today while listening to a briefing regarding the current situation in Israel. It is something that I should have learned long, long ago and explains a great deal. There is a profound difference between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 1947, the population of the latter was miniscule. By 1948, it was considerable. Something on the order of 80% of those now living in the Gaza Strip are descended from refugees who fled from territory now Israeli as the Egyptian army approached.
The same is not true of the West Bank. There are refugees camps in that region, to be sure. But most of its inhabitants live in homes occupied by their parents or grandparents in 1948.
If Gaza now belongs to Hamas, it is because it is largely populated by Palestinians unwilling to settle for anything short of the destruction of the state of Israel. If the West Bank still tolerates Fatah and the PLO, it is because the majority of those who live there are less bitter than their counterparts in Gaza.
The battle now going on is the third such struggle since Ariel Sharon ordered Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. If the current battle does not end with the wholesale destruction of Hamas’ rockets, there is apt to be another round. If Hamas ever does the Israeli core any great damage with these rockets, Israel will be forced to reoccupy Gaza. As things stand, were it not for the effectiveness of the Iron Dome, that day would be at hand.