In face of the current developments in the Gaza Strip we cannot just stand by and say, "Okay, now we can see who the Palestinians really are and what they are capable of - so let them stew in their own juice."
We should immediately take several humane and even political measures. Firstly, we should provide humanitarian aid without waiting for a dreadful catastrophe to develop. Enough of the ideas of starvation, enclosure and severing of power lines.
The Erez border crossing should be opened to Fatah representatives fleeing for their lives and to the civilian population trying to escape the horror of killing and murder, and they should be provided with buses that would transfer them to the West Bank.
In order to embolden Mahmoud Abbas' regime and to improve mobility within the West Bank, checkpoints between the communities, cities and villages should be removed. This would enable the population to organize itself to receive the refugees coming from the Gaza Strip and prevent the bloodbath currently taking place at the courtesy of Hamas.
The IDF should also be on guard so that settler rioters and those who smash tombstones and chant "death to the Arabs" will not decide that this is their opportunity to destroy another communal village, uproot more trees, and kill more people. There are those likely to do this, so the army should be alert.
In parallel, immediate humanitarian aid should be provided to the population unable to leave Gaza. They should be given food and medicine, and if needed a refugee camp at the crossing on our side of the border should be set up until they can be evacuated to the West Bank.
As to long-term political solutions, we would do well to wait for the return of the prime minister from the US. We have to carefully and intelligently weigh what must be done without moving hastily. Our quick responses to unexpected events have often exacerbated situations and complicated matters rather than resolving them.
Shulamit Aloni is a former education minister and Meretz party leader