THE Gaza Strip is a geographic absurdity—an ownerless, 5-by-25-mile enclave of sand, hate and history (Samson pulled down the temple in Gaza), jutting from the world's most troubled frontier. The last surviving bit of the old British Palestinian mandate, this narrow ribbon of primitive coastal land was administered from 1949 until last fall by the Egyptians, who kept lackadaisical order among its 90,000 poverty-stricken, disease-ridden Arab natives, and left to the U.N. relief agency the care and feeding of the 219,000 Palestinian refugees huddled there since the 1949 armistice.

Now the Israelis (who controlled Gaza in the days of King David)...

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