A Smart Gaza Idea from Marc Lynch

It's generally agreed that Gaza is a humanitarian mess. I haven't been there in months, so I don't know firsthand what it looks like. On the one hand, Palestinian officials (particularly in Hamas) and their European apologists have a tendency to exaggerate the suffering. On the other hand, Israel has a propensity for doing stupid things in Gaza, such as enforcing a type of collective punishment on the population.

It would be better for the average Palestinian, and for Israel, too, if the Gaza blockade (from both the Israeli and Egyptian sides)  could have as its targets the leaders of Hamas and not the entire population. And alleviating the suffering in Gaza, Marc Lynch points out, could benefit the peace process, such as it is:

If the U.S. really wants to launch a new peace process which won't be just another Annapolis, it should seriously consider announcing serious moves  to alleviate the humanitarian conditions in Gaza as part of the launch.   This would surprise and please Arab public opinion, and might even please Israelis who have grown uncomfortable with the indefinite suffering there.  It would also put Hamas in a bind -- they could hardly complain about a process which  improved the quality of life in Gaza, and it would give them even greater incentives to refrain from spoiler violence. In that regard, it's very interesting that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has been making a very public tour of the Gulf including meetings with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain. Even if real Palestinian reconciliation isn't in the cards, combining relief for Gaza with the launch of new negotiations may give the new effort more support across the Arab public and strengthen the Palestinian Authority going into the talks.