In 20th-century geopolitical history, the phenomenon of a single people split artificially into two nations is familiar. The oldest case of such a two-level people is the coexistence of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (so-called Red China). Another example, of a notorious nature, is Korea. Germany, too, was a split people until the Berlin Wall was brought down. As of this weekend, in the vicinity of Israel, a new case of a two-headed people, the Palestinians, is coming into existence. Their respective geographical territories are Cisjordan (also referred to as the West Bank, controlled by Fatah) and Gaza (controlled by Hamas).
Many families with Fatah links are fleeing from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank (a distance of about fifty kilometers). Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has received a pledge of support from the so-called international quartet of Middle East mediators: Russia, the European Union, the US and the UN.
Certain observers have already started crying out that this is the worst possible scenario that Israel might have imagined, because the nightmarish possibility exists that the Islamists of Gaza might now invite their Iranian friends to use the Strip as a convenient base for attacking the Hebrew nation. And this kind of scary talk could even be used as a pretext by Bush to envisage more firmly the idea of actions against Iran.
Personally, I disagree with this talk about the "worst possible scenario". On the contrary, I see this sudden separation of the Palestinian people into two geographical entities as the possible basis of an imminent filtering process that should normally clarify the situation greatly. By "filtering process", I mean that totally reactionary Islamic elements will tend to coagulate in Gaza, where the daily realities of life are likely to remain appalling, since there are no obvious reasons why many nations would wish to send resources to these people, blinded by Islam, who are intent upon destroying their Israeli neighbor. On the other hand, the whole process of peaceful coexistence between Israel and the people of Cisjordan could accelerate dramatically in the near future. In other words, I would hope that the unexpected and rapid events of the last week, resulting in enormous bloodshed and destruction, might nevertheless be seen now as a possible preface to measured optimism.