|Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi at the Gaza reconstruction conference in Cairo, October 12, 2014. Photo by Reuters|
The meeting in
Cairo between delegates from the Arab states, Europe,US and other states round the world under the auspices of President
Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi of Egypt is an important step in rehabilitating Gaza. What
is significant is that the most important players, Israel and Hamas were not invited.
Hamas, being a terrorist organization, whose goal is to use the pledged funds
for rearming and building new tunnels to send terrorists in their fight to
destroy Israel. This has to be avoided at all costs. Rehabilitation of Gaza, including
infra-structure and economy cannot be achieved if funds are used by Hamas for
perpetuating violence and enriching their own leadership. Israel was not invited to participate because of
the presence of Arab States at the meeting, who are technically at war with Israel. This is
unfortunate and makes one realize how important it is that Israel should accept the Saudi Initiative of 2002. This would lead us closer to a solution to
the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Naturally that would mean jump-starting the
moribund Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.
|A general view shows delegates attending the Gaza reconstruction conference in Cairo October 12, 2014. Egypt,|
Sissi's message “the road to Riyadh goes through Ramallah” rings true. Netanyahu will never be able to forge normal relations with the moderate Arab states without negotiating a peace settlement with the Palestinians. Somehow, Netanyahu is evading this issue as he has always done. His answer was the normal automatic reaction in order to pacify his right wing coalition partner by increasing settlement activity as in the case of Givat Hamatos recently.
The big fear for the Netanyahu Government is its ending the occupation of the
Bank, which means an end to the settler enterprise there.
Netanyahu has often paid lip-service to the two-state solution but without any
hint of solving the Israeli settlement problem that is an obstacle to a
two-state solution. In fact, it is business as usual there with settlements
continuing to be built and weakening Israel's stance even further.
President Al-Sissi is correct in his assessment that
cannot expect to improve relationships with the Arab World without solving the
problem of occupation. Israel
can only play an integral part with those countries who pledge financial for Gaza when the door to a
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian is opened. Negotiating an end to the
occupation of Palestinian lands, as well as ensuring Israel's security from extremist
Islamist terrorist groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is essential in
solving the conflict. While Hamas
remains a terrorist organization with a will to destroy Israel as an
integral part of its ideology as outlined in the Hamas Charter, it will never
be a partner to peace negotiations.
Since the cease-fire between
Israel and Hamas,
the latter has continued with its hate Israel as they
emerged from their bunkers underground. Hamas has proved itself unable to come
to terms with Israel's
right to exist. Both Israel
have a shared interest in a weakened Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot,
has to end the occupation and work towards a two-state solution, federation or
confederation solution. The latter two options may seem more viable in view of
the complicated, logistic problems involved in withdrawing over half a million West Bank settlers.
One thing is certain that whatever the direction will be in negotiations, Hamas must be disarmed and
must be assured. Hamas has no place in a peace agreement between Israel and the
Palestinians. The recent Operation Protective Shield has proved this beyond any
doubt. Hamas has proved that it is a terrorist organization and must be made
accountable for the heavy losses inflicted on the Gazan Palestinians because of
Palestinian human shield use and non-investment in bomb shelters for
Palestinian civilians apart from the Hamas leadership, whose silence during the
war was deafening, apart from the diamond-studded Hamas leader, Khaled Mashal,
in Qatar, who made the bloody decisions to have as many Palestinians killed as
possible as this served his agenda of propaganda against the "Zionist
Entity". This evil, enriched worm is now in the background and we do not
hear much about him these days. Most
of the leaders of Hamas are tycoons and criminals.
Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, visited
Gaza on 13th October
and expressed great
concern over the destruction in Gaza. At the same time, the continuing
settler policies of the Israeli Government are not constructive in reaching a
settlement with the Palestinians. Naturally, the Israeli right wingers accuse
Ban Ki Moon of being biased and anti-Israel when he expressed what he had seen.
It seems as if many right wing Israelis are in denial about the destruction in Gaza and anybody who is
upset about it is viewed as an anti-Semite and anti-Israel. This is really
quite pathetic! Ban Ki Moon is a very high ranking UN clerk and has no power at
all, nor can he really influence decisions. He came on a fact-finding mission
and he did not deny Israel's
right to defend itself against Hamas.
The situation in
Gaza cannot remain as it
is now. It is imperative that a massive rehabilitation programme commences
immediately and Israel as
well as the participants of the Cairo meeting on
Gaza ensure that finances pledged for that
purpose reach the parties responsible for undertaking the rehabilitation of Gaza. Security controls
must be in place to prevent the donations from reaching Hamas. If this is not
done then Hamas will use the money for personal enrichment as well as building
tunnels and re-arming. Total disarmament of Hamas is essential before any
money reaches Gaza! By
the way, the
Hamas tycoons can also donate their illegal financial gains for
rehabilitation of Gaza.
After all, they should be held accountable for Palestinian suffering and
mortality there. This suggestion was not brought up in the recent Cairo
Lifting of the siege on Gaza is essential no less than the prevention of weapons and building materials for renewing hostilities against Israel by Hamas. A prosperous Gaza with a sound economy is the best weapon against Hamas terror. It is also to the benefit of both Israelis and Palestinians.