Lisa Liel

A Lifeline for Gaza

At the State of the Union address last night, President Joe Biden announced that the US would be building a port off the coast of the Gaza Strip in order to facilitate the entry of aid to the poor, poor Palestinians.

He didn’t specify how he was going to guarantee that this aid won’t be hijacked by Hamas, the way the hundreds of trucks of aid a day streaming in from Israel are being hijacked. But I’m sure that was just an oversight.

Still, this plan opens up a phenomenal opportunity. The majority of Gazans don’t want to be Gazans. They want to leave. Every poll of them done by Arab pollsters shows this to be the case. Yet… despite the idea of helping facilitate that exit having been raised by a minister in the government, which is supported by the vast majority of Israeli Jews, Israel is afraid to go ahead with the plan, fearing that the world will accuse us of ethnic cleansing for helping people who want to leave do just that. And it would be truly awful if the world were to accuse of things we haven’t done. I can’t even imagine such a scenario.

Still, if Israel won’t facilitate their desire to find a better life elsewhere, it’s worth remembering that Israel doesn’t control the entire border of the Gaza Strip. After all, Egypt controls the southern border, so they can certainly help Gazans emigrate if they want. In fact, they have done so over the past several months. If you have enough money for bribes, you can get out. Maybe. Stories are circulating about Egyptians who have taken thousands of dollars in bribes, per person, to help Gazans get out, and just pocket the money, leaving the Gazans high and dry. I’m sure the government of Egypt has nothing to do with such shenanigans. They would never.

The United States under Joe Biden has a clear policy of welcoming asylum seekers. This port creates an unprecedented opportunity. Every single Gazan who desires to leave has only to go to the port and ask for asylum. We read in the news this past week that Biden has been flying asylum seekers in from airports deep in Mexico in order to shorten lines at the borders (or, since they were secret, to avoid attention). This flight would be somewhat longer, but the planes carrying aid will have to return to the US periodically, and it would hardly make sense for them to return with empty cargo holds. Such planes don’t generally have room for passengers up top, so the holds can be fitted with seats to make the flight to America more comfortable.

America can once again lead the world in reducing suffering.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.