What the people of Gaza badly need

Less sentimentality, more help

The Israeli military has killed over 200 Palestinians, destroyed landmark buildings in Gaza and bombed the strip’s civic infrastructure. Israel has however failed to break the will of the people of Gaza. As Hamas and Israel announced a ceasefire, thousands of people rushed to the streets jubilantly making victory signs. Despite the destruction caused by the 11 day war, the morale of the people of Gaza remains high.

While the people of Gaza displayed an 0unflinching determination throughout the campaign, they are likely to feel the pinch soon. Many families have lost their sole breadwinners. Thousands have lost their jobs and businesses. With hospitals bombed, hundreds of the injured and sick are in need of urgent medical assistance. Power and water supply need to be restored and the sanitary system put in place.

A so called tectonic shift on the conflict is no doubt visible among the Democrats. The younger generation of US lawmakers coming from a diversity of backgrounds is considerably more sympathetic to the Palestinians. it will however be a long time before the USA is able to elect a President willing to help in a just settlement of the conflict, which requires the USA supporting the two-state solution with the creation of an independent Palestinian state having Al-Quds as its capital. Till this happens the USA would continue to block moves towards a sovereign Palestinian state in the Security Council. There are meanwhile a number of important things that need to be done.

What has to be immediately undertaken by the OIC and the UN is to set up makeshift hospitals in Gaza and send medical teams duly provided necessary equipment and medicines. The Gulf Arab regimes which spend hundreds of billions dollars on defence purchases have to be persuaded to loosen the purse strings for the rehabilitation of the Gazan Palestinians. As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres puts it, Gaza needs a robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery. In case the oi- rich Arab governments fail the Palestinians, there would be a need to put together a “coalition of the willing” for the purpose. This don,e there may not be a need to deploy a UN mandated ‘International Protection Force’ in Occupied Palestine as suggested by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].

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