Religious Barriers Prevent Racial And Cultural Interaction
By Marlene Caroselli.
Religious barriers prevent racial and cultural interaction between the Gaza Strip and Israel. For example, long waits and high prices for anything but “fast” food is something Gaza Strip residents endure. In a New York Times article, “Delivering KFC by Tunnel, Not Too Fast but Satisfying,” Fares Akram reports that a 12 piece bucket of the Colonel’s world-famous food costs about $27. It takes four hours to deliver from Egypt via taxis, the crossing of an international border, and a tunnel used by smugglers.
What’s the problem you ask, well for 1.7 million Palestinians residing on a coastal piece of land 140 square miles long, is a barrier that only allows 800 people a day into Egypt. The barrier subjects men between the ages of 16 and 40 to special-clearance requirements, slowing down the process even further, which Israel erected in 1994 to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel. An additional barrier separated the Gaza Strip and Egypt was completed 11 years later.
The barrier effectively eliminates terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Israel. In the 10-year period following the initial erection of the barrier, only one suicide bomber reached the port city of Ashdod, where 60 percent of Israel’s imports arrive into the country.
The United States is an active player in resolving issues on the world politics stage. In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the Middle East several times in an attempt to renew peace talks between Israel and Palestinians in the months since his appointment, and he continues to urge a two-state solution to the complex problems that divide the two regions — not the least of which are economic conditions. To that end, several initiatives, including the union of U.S. government programs and private- sector investments, are underway to improve economic conditions. The unemployment rate in Gaza is 30 percent, and in Israel, it is under 6 percent.
American input of course, has a long history in the region. A half century since President John F. Kennedy spoke about the removal of the barriers: “Peace,” he asserted, “is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”
We can only hope that it will not take another half-century to remove the barriers in that region of the world and to replace them with peace.
Featured Photo Credit: www.thenational.ae