The Gaza Strip as Laboratory: Notes in the Wake of Disengagement
Chronically described as poor, overcrowded, and dangerous, the Gaza Strip exemplifies the longstanding Zionist “dilemma” of how to deal with dense concentrations of Palestinians who must not be granted equality but who cannot be removed or exterminated en masse. This article analyzes key Israeli policies toward the Gaza Strip—specifically, the use of closure, buffer zones, and air power—in the context of the Zionist movement’s broader geographic and demographic goals. It argues that the Gaza Strip can be usefully seen as a “laboratory” in which Israel fine-tunes a dubious balance of maximum control and minimum responsibility, refining techniques that are also suggestive of possible futures for the West Bank.
DARRYL LI is a former information officer for the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (Gaza) and co-author of “Razing Rafah: Mass Home Demolitions in the Gaza Strip” (Human Rights Watch, 2004). The views expressed here are his own. Li would like to note that this article was shaped by endless discussions with faithful interlocutors and friends Deema Arafah and Sayres Rudy and would like to offer thanks to Raji Sourani, ‘Abd al-Halim Abu Samra, and Anwar Matar for teaching him the lay of the land; also to John Emerson, Nur Masalha, Salman Abu Sitta, and Hanna Sweid for mapping help; and to an anonymous reviewer from JPS.