by: Joshua Spurlock, The Mideast Update
Global news headlines cover the Middle East—and Israel in particular—on what feels like a daily basis. With the abundance of information in near constant circulation, many people have reason to view themselves as experts on the Jewish state. However, there are facts about Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East that are unknown to most. In these cases, ignorance is dangerous.
For example, did you know that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is the semi-governmental entity the Palestinians use for international affairs and peace talks with Israel, was originally a terrorist organization founded before Israel regained control of Judea and Samaria, or the so-called West Bank? Yes, History.com notes that the PLO was founded in 1964, three years before the Six Day War, at a time when Egypt and Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. This makes you realize the extent of the “Palestine” the PLO was planning to liberate in 1964 (hint: it’s all of Israel) and shines a light on who’s really to blame for the decades of negotiation stalemates between the sides.
So what else might you not know about the Middle East? Did you know that…
Egypt Blockades Gaza
An oft-forgotten reality when the news media discuss the Gaza Strip is that Israel only controls some parts of the Gaza borders. Egypt commands the entire southern border for Gaza and assists Israel in maintaining the blockade of the coastal enclave. This is important, because Egypt is publicly on the Palestinians’ side in the conflict with Israel. At the same time, they apparently recognize the blockade is critical to stopping terrorists from arming themselves and subjecting the region to further mayhem.
While Haaretz reported the border crossing to Egypt was to be opened the entire month of Ramadan [Muslim holy month of fasting] in 2018, prior years were quite different. The Ma’an News Agency cited the United Nations in saying the crossing was only opened for 44 days in all of 2016 and just 21 days in 2015. In other words, Israel’s not alone in realizing that Gaza is a powder keg that needs to be contained as long as terrorists control it.
SOURCE: Bridges for Peace