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What a ‘Free Palestine’ Means in Practice

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Imagine that the campus protesters got their wish tomorrow: Not just “Cease-fire Now” in Gaza, but the creation of a “Free Palestine.” How free would that future Palestine be?

This isn’t a speculative question. Palestinians have had a measure of self-rule in the West Bank since Yasir Arafat entered Gaza in 1994.

Israel evacuated its settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority that same year and Hamas won legislative elections the next.

How much freedom have Palestinians enjoyed since then? They and their allies abroad argue they’ve had none because Israel has denied it to them — not just by refusing to accept a Palestinian state, but also through road closings, land expropriations in the West Bank, an economic blockade of Gaza and frequent Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas.

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