a consensus has emerged that the attempt to weaken the governing party, Hamas, and drive it from power has failed.
In the days since an Israeli naval takeover of a flotilla trying to break the siege turned deadly, that consensus has taken on added urgency, with world powers, anti-Hamas Palestinians in Gaza and some senior Israeli officials advocating a shift.
Businesspeople in Gaza say that by closing down legitimate commerce, Israel has helped Hamas tighten its domination. And by allowing in food for shops but not goods needed for industry, Israel is helping keep Gaza a welfare society, the sort of place where extremism can flourish.
“Hamas is strong,” acknowledged Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the Israeli Defense Ministry official in charge of Palestinian civilian issues, in an interview. “It controls Gaza, and it doesn’t look like that is going to be changed in the coming months or maybe years. But we must protect our security while helping interests in Gaza that are not under Hamas’s control.”
daily life is neither as awful as many abroad assert nor as untroubled as Israel insists. Instead, it has a numbing listlessness.
“In Gaza, no one is dying,” said Amr Hamad, deputy secretary general of the Palestinian Federation of Industries. “But no one is living.”