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That's a good question Bob Wright asks:

What I'd like to see an enterprising MSM reporter ask is: How do Israel's severe restrictions on Gazan exports keep arms from getting to Hamas?

They don't. So what's the reason? Bob comes up with two: preventing a trading partnership between Gaza and the West Bank which could lead to greater unity, or simply collective punishment:

Maybe Israeli leaders want to keep all of Gaza impoverished as payback for the sins of Hamas. Maybe they even think that this impoverishment will lead Gazans to reject Hamas. If so, I have bad news: If Gazans reject Hamas, it will be in favor of Islamic Jihad or even more radical elements, in keeping with the general principle that imposing unjust suffering on people empowers extremists.

I see no way out for Israel at this point, except becoming an increasingly religious and militaristic non-democracy, regularly attacking its neighbors, and losing every regional ally in pursuit of total control of the entire Biblical land of Israel, expulsion of Palestinians therefrom, and more and more war and violence. The question for the US is whether we should continue to subsidize and pay directly for this Jacksonian policy at the cost of our entire relations with the Arab and Muslim world; and whether our alliance with Israel will come to destroy our relations with the rest of the West as thoroughly as it has Israel's.

I'm slowly reaching the conclusion that we cannot stop them from committing suicide, if that's what they want. They're a sovereign state. And I can't keep hoping for a two-state solution when it is in fact a shiny object meant to distract from Israel's determination to occupy one-state on the original Ben-Zion Netanyahu lines. My only caveat (and even that is quixotic) is: not on our dime. And the premise of any re-engagement with a two-state solution should be immediate dismantling of every single settlement outside of the 1967 lines, including East Jerusalem. The Israelis can maintain military control of the West Bank for legitimate security purposes, without continuing the ethnic social engineering being imposed by the settlements.

Obama was right four years ago. Until the settlements are reversed, the only future for Israel is a slow, brutalizing suicide. If the president had any control over policy toward Israel, he would end aid immediately until the Israelis start to destroy and evacuate all the settlements once and for all. But of course, he doesn't. The Congress controls the aid, and they will abandon Obama before they abandon Netanyahu. And Israel and America will be the victims in the end.

(Photo: A Palestinian boy from the village of Jabaa, east of Ramallah, looks at Hebrew graffiti reading 'Revenge' (L) and 'the war has begun' (R) on a mosque which settlers tried to burn overnight on June 19, 2012. Unknown attackers attempted to torch the mosque and sprayed it with Hebrew-language graffiti, in an incident that bore the hallmark of extremist Jewish settlers. By Abbas Momani/AFP/GettyImages.)