What Is the Best Path Forward for Gaza?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 27, 2009
Palestinian Man in Northern Gaza Strip

Secretary Clinton will participate in the donor's conference for Gaza recovery hosted by Egypt on March 2. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell and other high-level representatives will be in attendance with the Secretary, and the U.S. has urged the international community to show similar support for the Egyptian initiative.

The March 2 conference is an opportunity to address the immediate humanitarian suffering in Gaza and support the Palestinian Authority's plan for reconstruction of Gaza as an integral part of a future Palestinian state.

What is the best path forward for Gaza?

Comments

Comments

Dan
February 28, 2009

Dan writes:

The first question at hand is how US aid money should go to Gaza, and, the extent we influence it, how Israeli aid money and materiel should go to Gaza.

As you at State no doubt understand, we have a conundrum in Gaza: No right-minded human being wants to watch the people of Gaza suffering as they do. Similarly, very few outside of some sectors of the Muslim world want to see Hamas emboldened and rewarded by their provocations against Israel, or by their bloody purges of Fatah supporters.

The most sensitive part of the problem is that dealing with Fatah risks marginalizing that grouping in the eyes of the quickly radicalizing Gazan street. For my money, that is a risk we must take, if we have any hope for progress in Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.

I do not know the constitutional nuances of the PA government; my last recollection was that Hamas won, then started killing all the Fatah members they could find. Is there a constitutional vote of confidence measure that could be encouraged within the PA? Then by all means, encourage it. America needs to know who represents the people of Gaza. If the answer is Hamas, we and any other party rendering aid should insist it be distributed by Fatah, Egypt, or some other responsible party.

If Hamas refuses, and the people of Gaza indeed march in lockstep behind Hamas leadership, I would provide only as much financial aid as is absolutely necessary to provide the most basic existence for the people of Gaza. Another amount of money should be held in escrow against the day that Gaza is able to deal with the remainder of the world through a responsible government. Simultaneously, the U.S. initiative should focus on rapproachment between Hamas and Fatah before the subject of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence is on the table.

All parties to a peace talk should understand they are bound to consider one anothers' national aspirations legitimate, insofar as they concern self-determination. If Hamas is to be party to such talks, it must do so through Fatah representation, or amend its charter and rhetoric to allow for the coexistence of Israel and a Palestinian state.

Under no circumstances should the U.S. encourage Hamas in its current form.

Jeremiah
|
California, USA
March 1, 2009

Jeremiah in California writes:

Hey, instead of letting them blow others and themselves up, lets bring our people in there like we did Iraq and regulate their lives, albeit respectfully. Lets govern them as we govern ourselves in this chance for concentrated change in the right direction. Once the people of that area can control their fears and anguish, we'll leave them be. Sometimes leadership in situations like that compound in the innappropriate direction and hate mongering is developed instead of live for life! Lets make their community a wonderous green community with GREEN environments priority over industrious, commercialized civility. Where roads are well kept but unnattached to the environment. Where living is graceful on their lives rather than harsh and construde. Get the power out of corrupt hands and let us lead these people the AMERICAN way! Thank you President Obama for rising to the occasion and thank you Mrs. Clinton... by the way, how can I simple Airman like myself get a chance to hang with the big dogs. I really would appreciate the oppurtunity. Currently enrolled in Airman Leadership School working on getting Staff Sergeant and be the best Air Force Member (Air National Guard Joint Force) I can be. Please forward me an oppurtunity to rise to an occasion of leadership!

Sam
|
New York, USA
March 1, 2009

Sam in New York writes:

First, destroy Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating in Gaza. As long as these dangerous criminals exist Gaza will be under constant threat of damage when the military response the terrorists provoke is unleashed.

Second, close down UNRWA and all related operations. It is a useless sinkhole of corruption, and they "divert" more money to support themselves than they pass along for the terrorist organizations to steal.
Once that is done, the real work of building Gaza can begin. Those efforts must focus on two primary areas.

First is education. Not the absurdity currently engendered by UNRWA where textbooks teach that Israel does not exist and Jews are apes and dogs, but real books that teach real reading, math, science, and law.

Second is industry. Without industry there will never be sufficient employment available within Gaza for the Palestinians. By giving them jobs within what could be their country they will become self-sufficient, as well as have a greater motive not to permit any terrorist groups to threaten a very real livelihood that is raising their standard of living.

What absolutely must not be done is to throw money at the area, along with a bunch of speeches and platitudes about how everyone is friends. Everyone knows the speeches are nonsense, and without the same kind of accountability being promised for the Recovery Act, the money might as well be given directly to the terrorists for all the good it will do.

Keith
|
Illinois, USA
March 1, 2009

Keith in Illinois writes:

Regarding Jerusalem: Because Israel & the Palestinians will never come to agreement on Jerusalem, there will never be peace. I think the holy sites in the city of Jerusalem should be set up as a sovereign city-state like Vatican City, ruled by an independent board of Governors. This would remove the biggest obstacle to peace.

Mike S.
|
Alabama, USA
March 1, 2009

Mike S. in Alabama writes:

Israel must stop being an occupying force. Discontinue blockade around Gaza and stop the stranglehold of their people. Hamas has just as much right to defend itself as Israel does. Israel needs to follow UN resolutions of the past and present, they are not above the law anymore than Iraq or Iran are. Hamas should be asked to discontinue violence, but they must be recognized as a governmental body. Just because we disagree with their policy does not give us or Israel a right to claim they are terrorist, killing thousands of innocent people who elected them. We need to stop being blinded by our alliances and recognize that we are the only ones in this world powerful enough to stop this bloodshed -- Israel will listen to us.

Richard
|
California, USA
March 1, 2009

Richard in California writes:

The reconstruction of Gaza must be accompanied by Hamas renouncing the use of violence against Israel.Otherwise the sick cycle of being rewarded for using the people of Gaza as a shield and a pawn will have succeeded.

There is no reason for a militarized Gaza except to provoke Israel to defend and retaliate while the Hamas leadership hides underground in their bunkers while the people they supposedly represent are left to reap the whirlwind they created. The United States will not win the thanks of Gaza and Hamas by being duped into rebuilding the building that will be used again as missile launching sites for Hamas.

When you have an enemy you defeat it, not try to win their hearts with money.

Mark S.
|
Kuwait
March 1, 2009

Mark S. in Kuwait writes:

The plight of the Palestinians and Gaza itself is not an Israel problem. It is a regional problem. Egypt, Syria, (trans) Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia all have a shared responsibility (and indeed are historically accountable) to the future of the Palestinians. No peace agreement or Palestinian nation/state building will be achieved without those nations DIRECT (tacit is not satisfactory) support. The political, military and financial leadership of these states must be engaged.

The Mullahs in Iran and Syrian leadership MUST be engaged and marginalized as a disrupting influence, their support for peace is not required, but they must cease the financial and military backing of Hamas and Hezbollah. This requires US and Israeli engagement... complicated by the rhetoric and perceived or not, Iranian development of nuclear weapon capability. State, you have your work cut out for you.

Finally, the Palestinian people need to take responsibility for themselves and not support the undermining influence of the terrorist/insurgency activities of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah... this will require a multinational coalition engagement and MUST have a solid centralized strategic communications plan.

State will need to coordinate all of the above... until and unless this is accomplished the Palestinians will be mired in the present and past.

Madame Secretary, if you can pull this off over the next 4 to 8 years, my hats off to you.

Herman
|
Indiana, USA
March 1, 2009

Herman in Indiana writes:

The best road forward for Gaza, is for someone, some Nation, to finally convince the Palestinian people, that their best interests lie not with Hamas, and the radical elements, but with sane and responsible representatives who truly care about their plight.

For too many decades now, The people in Gaza, and the West Bank, have been pawns in the game the extremist nations of the region play against Israel. These more powerful countries have no interest in establishing a State of Palestine, and they care less for the senseless death and maiming of civilians, each time Israel is pushed over the brink, and Hamas, or that year's radicals, take cover behind the civilians, as cowards have done throughout history.

Education is one key that can unlock this gateway to peace, but too often, the education given to Palestinian youth, is one of hatred and resentment. It is even difficult for Palestinian students when they get scholarships to study abroad, because radical elements in the host nations are waiting to distract them from their studies with false values, and ancient prejudices.

I have hopes and expectations that Secretary Clinton, and President Obama, can forge a new agreement between Israel, and the West Bank leadership, that can draw the people out of the death-cult of Hamas, and into a 21st Century of growth and peace for this troubled people.

Alice
|
Pennsylvania, USA
March 1, 2009

Alice in Pennsylvania writes:

Let the Mid East countries pay for the rebuilding of Gaza::We didn't bomb it so why do we have to rebuild::It is always good old Uncle Sam!! Let the Emerit states, Saudi Arabia, help them out(or help us for a change)!! All of those countries have to have a summit--put constructive plans for Gaza on the table and help their neighbor::Isreal has to show some peaceful resignation!! But with Mr. Net(sp) winning the Isreal election--there goes hope again--look how much money and military support Isreal gets from U.S.A. if they keep the fight going.

gary
|
Virginia, USA
March 1, 2009

Gary in Virginia writes:

Get rid of hamas and other groups that kill their own people by hiding behind women and children,if they cared,they would Protect not put them in harms way.

Abdel I.
|
Germany
March 1, 2009

Abdel I. in Germany writes:

No food, no water, no compassion, no mercifulness, no reconstruction and therefor, there should be no U.S. money for people who don't recognize Judaism and jewish right of existence.

Sincerely

Abdel I.

Naomi
|
New York, USA
March 1, 2009

Naomi in New York writes:

A truly evenhanded approach would go a long way in the middle east. that has to being by treating hamas in gaza as what it is -- the legitimately elected representative of the people of Gaza. It also means recognizing the ways in Israel has repeatedly been the aggressor, violating cease fire agreements long before Hamas. Mitchell's experience in Ireland prepares him for this challenge, but he must be allowed to operate as a genuine mediator, not as an advocate for Israel.

Bonnie P.
|
Illinois, USA
March 1, 2009

Bonnie P. in Illinois writes:

I am sad seeing and hearing the news on killed children and civilians in Gaza. Israel needs to open the borders and let in food, let out trade. Someone needs to prevent Israel from bombing them over and over with OUR MILITARY AID! This situation is bad for the U.S. in the long run, it only turns people against us for propping up Israel. I am pro Israel but against their actions killing civilians and building settlements on land they have no rights to build on. Stop the wall, get rid of the illegal settlements. Keep Israel to the borders they are supposed to be kept to. When I took a cab home from Ohare after the Inauguration, the cabbie was from Jordan and extremely upset about the killed babies in Gaza. So am I. What about that Palestinian doctor who's daughters were killed? This situation is our making and our responsibility. Think about the consequences for us, if you can't have sympathy for the civilians in Gaza.

wendy
|
North Carolina, USA
March 1, 2009

Wendy in North Carolina writes:

There are many steps that need to be taken to address the situation in Gaza, but one of the biggest steps is to recognize the democratically elected government of Hamas. We are supporting the destruction of a people--the theft of lands leading to the systematic destruction of a viable country. Students at our universities are beginning to call for divestment in Israel as a result of Israeli activities against Gazans. The time is now to move away from the position of hardline special interests who control the debate in this country and acknowledge the situation for what it is.

Recognize Hamas.

Fernando
|
Florida, USA
March 1, 2009

Fernando in Florida writes:

I have an idea that I believe can help to resolve wars between Israel and Hamas......

Izaz
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 1, 2009

Izaz in Massachusetts writes:

The civilian population of Gaza needs to be able to breath freely. They need to be freed from the open air prison they find themselves in. It is unconscionable that the International community has tolerated this collective punishment for the entire population of Gaza.

Kathi S.
|
California, USA
March 1, 2009

Kathi S. in California writes:

The best path forward is for America to end our financial support of Isreal. It was U.S. money that enabled Isreal to bomb Gaza and they will continue this aggressiveness is we continue to fund it. As a "politically correct" way to back out we can site the economic depression we face and the fact that we simply cannot afford this huge expense any longer. Why are we funding Isreal to destroy the Palestines instead of funding U.S. citizens who desperately need the government support to survive?

Adrian
|
Wisconsin, USA
March 1, 2009

Adrian in Wisconsin writes:

We need to stop selling Israel weapons that mutilate innocent women and children. We need to stop giving Israel the money that it uses to buy such weapons. There can be no excuse for using incendiary weapons against the Palestinians. This is not our war and we should not be funding either side.

Peter
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 1, 2009

Peter in Massachusetts writes:

Two state solution, based on the 1967 borders. Without that there is no basis for understanding and potential agreement on any of the other, equally difficult, issues which follow from it: right of return, water, migration, etc.

JACOBO L.
|
Mexico
March 1, 2009

Jacobo L. in Mexico writes:

Gaza is a very crowded place, with a median age of 16, unemployment is 80%, the schools are only recruiting places, and hiding places for rockets, the solution is giving back the Strip to Egypt, they will absorb the one million refugees, the Hamas terrorist organization is advocating suicide bombings, encouraging children to martyr themselves, they use children as human shields, they murder innocent women and children as part of their belief, they execute rival Fatah members on the street, they torture children in front of their parents. Save the children, give back the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

Polly
|
California, USA
March 1, 2009

Polly in California writes:

I think the problems and hatreds in the lands 'Holy' to at least 3 of the world's major religions are so endemic and bitter, and memories of injustices are so long ( and already thousands of years old) that they will never be solved. Therefore I would like to propose an alternate solution: Make the entire Holy Land a World Historic Park, and don't let anybody live there. The people of the world would be allowed to visit - for up to two weeks per year - and then they must go home. Israelis and Palestinians, Moslem, Christian, and Jewish would be required to emigrate. All the world's countries would be encouraged to accept as many of these emigrants as full citizens as they thought they could assimilate.

The only exception to the residence ban would be for caretakers, docents, archaeologists, and the service employees needed to staff the tourist facilities. These persons would be issued temporary residence permits associated with their jobs on-site.

Rehoming the population would be difficult and fraught, I'm sure, but its fairness could not be questioned. And the savings to the world in suffering and pain and degradation, in money and hassle and time would be immense! Just think of all the news stories which wouldn't need to be written, the number of foreign correspondents who could stay home, the amount of time the United Nations, as well as most other countries could spend on other pressing concerns. Think of the children who could grow up without fear or injury, with educations and unfettered dreams.

I, like most people, I think, am sick to death of the ongoing 'crisis' in the Holy Land. It's time to step in and put an end to the squabbling. Let the Holy Land be what it should be, a place of spiritual pilgrimage.

Good Idea, don't you think??

Polly

Jose' P.
|
New York, USA
March 1, 2009

Jose' P. in New York writes:

Rebuild Gaza. Provide a steady and progressive approach to all the issues. U.S. should be a strong advocate for Gaza and make them want to build a relationship with them and others in the region. Make them out allies. Rebuild the area. Independent of Israel rule.They must be independent. The peoples land must be returned. All the farm land home sites, etc. REBUILD GAZA, Assist in them getting a good government strong economy and an excellent educational system. Treat them like Kuwait. Keep Israel OUT of there. Make it a strong and peaceful part of the world. What is really going on there is as easy as going on Y tube. The footage of all the death of the children, women and young men is available for everyone to see. It's time to end this occupation in the middle east. We have no right in supporting such a thing. The Oil is on the land of the middle east not in the U.S. It's time to play nice in the sand box.

Brad B.
|
Canada
March 1, 2009

Brad B. in Canada writes:

There really is no way forward with Gaza ruled by Hamas. To accept them is to accept persecution of Christians, journalists and anyone who disagrees with them; Jew hatred goes without saying.

A series of errors of appeasement have been made by the west over the decades. The latest was the insane decision to allow Hamas to run as a bona fide party. Prior to that, the west turned a blind eye to the corruption and lies of Arafat and particularly to the indoctrination of the Palestinian people to be anti-western in general and anti-Jew in particular. Persecution and government-sponsored hatred exist in many OIC member countries and this too has been ignored.

These errors must be rectified or it is disingenuous to talk of peace.

A practical method is needed because the west has dug itself a big hole. I would recommend beginning by refusing to put up with the nonsense spouted at the UN; start with the "defamation of religions" issue and expand it to deny legitimacy to claims of widespread western Islamophobia and genocide by Israel.

There also needs to be a long-term process of creating democratic parties in the Palestinian territories as the prognosis for Fatah seems extremely poor.

Shannon
|
California, USA
March 1, 2009

Shannon in California writes:

The U.S.A. should support all Nations equally and with humanitarian Help Only. No products of War should be included unless we are directly involved in the conflict.

Why is America backing Isreal anyway? The U.S.A. has always presented themselves are prmarily a Christian Nation and Isreal is Jewish. Does not make sense. Chrisitain faith is closer to Islam in faith than Jewish. Politically it is not our Country and we have no right to interfer except for humanitarian help. Is it about the Land and Oil only? What exactly do we gain from backing Isreal? If the Saudi and Middle Eastern Oil countries would pull together and give back to their people and develope the homes, jobs and cities for al the middle east maybe this conflict would end.

The Middle Eatern countries should be carring the burden for these people.

Andrew
|
New York, USA
March 1, 2009

Andrew in New York writes:

I think they need some high profile human shields. Build a border community that both sides can mingle in and interested countries can provide diplomatic and military staff in a continuous hardened structure (accidents do happen).

If you have a couple cats that don't get along, constantly fighting when they meet, one solution is to place a fence that keeps them from tearing each other up, but still allows them to come face to face.

Its a bit harder when the cats are armed with missiles so you have to have a fence that can stop missiles.

The only thing I can think of that might work are human shields composed of people that neither side wants to kill. Finding out who that is may be the hardest part.

Maybe start with political prisoners from both sides in a modern community where they are cared for by international caretakers in a humane fashion with nice apartments, and their loved ones can come visit them at last.

The hardened structures should be strong enough and diplomatic restraint might keep both sides from shooting. An international contingent would be present with computer controlled gatling guns to shoot down overflying ordnance.

Brad
|
Missouri, USA
March 1, 2009

Brad in Missouri writes:

Give Gaza back to Egypt. Whether Egypt wants it or not. Even if Gaza had the best government in the history of the human race, it's too small and too resource-poor to be its own country. Israel doesn't want it. The former Jordanians on the West Bank don't even want it any more. Egypt doesn't want it, but it's their problem; Gaza has been part of Egypt since the Pharaohs. It's long-since time for Israel to correct the mistake they made in the peace talks with the Egyptians years ago and cough up the poison pill that is Gaza, and for the rest of the world to expect and require Egypt to clean up their mess and govern their city, Gaza City.

David
|
Michigan, USA
March 1, 2009

David in Michigan writes:

As long as each identify each other by race or religion neither side will know peace. Having a split country divided by borders and no common identity will always feel that there is a division that cannot be solved.

Palestians need one unified land in order for any kind of peace to be possible.

jacobo l.
|
Mexico
March 1, 2009

Jacobo L. in Mexico writes:

The Muslimm world is 1500 million people strong, 50 countries are mayority Muslim, 76 countries have more than one million Muslims; India with 155 million Muslims, China with 27 million Muslims, Russia with 22 million, France with 6.5 million Muslims, Nigeria with 75 million, Ethiopia with 28 million, U.S.A. with nearly 2 million Muslims, and a land over 30 million sq-kilometers these is the African continent equivalent, and over 7 trillion GDP, equivalent to China, with some of the richest countries in the world, Qatar with 100,000 per dollars per capita, twice American, and some of the poorests countries in the world; its time that these rich Muslims take care of their poor brethen, Gazans.

Ruth
|
Israel
March 1, 2009

Ruth in Israel writes:

The self-perception of being refugees is a core issue in Gaza.

My dad lost two of his four siblings in Poland/Ukraine, and his father's home & adjacent store on the main plaza of the town were confiscated. Are the three siblings who survived WWII sitting in a German DP camp today with their six children and many grandchildren, plotting how they can blow up people in Belarus so that they can get back to the town? Less than five years after the war they were all building their lives elsewhere.

Prerequisite One is figuring out how the people in Gaza, with the help of the Arab states, can swallow their pride and be exposed to the rest of the world long enough to realize that no one is currently occupying them, with the possible exception of Iran. At this point, we are still seeing Qassams.

Jonathan G.
|
New York, USA
March 1, 2009

Jonathan G. in New York writes:

Any effort at rebuilding Gaza should focus on local energy production, with the goal of helping to spur job growth and economic recovery. Helping to eliminate poverty would go a long way toward stopping the spread of terrorism. A larger middle class in Gaza is a worthy goal.

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