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

Sarah
|
Pennsylvania, USA
March 1, 2009

Sarah in Pennsylvania writes:

End military aid to Israel. I do not support the fact that Israel used my tax dollars to massacre hundreds of innocent men, women, and children in Gaza. Since we have funded this massacre and left an entire region in shambles, it is now our responsibility to (1) End military aid to Israel to prevent such bloodshed in the future; (2) Re-build the hundreds of schools, hospitals, orphanages, mosques, and infrastructure in Gaza that Israel recently demolished.

Ellen
|
Georgia, USA
March 1, 2009

Ellen in Georgia writes:

The people in Gaza need so much help. Over half of the children in Gaza have witnessed a death during the most recent violence. These children and their families need food, medical care, and psychological counseling. They need to have their homes and schools rebuilt. Please work to change laws that limit contact with Hamas so that aid workers can talk with them.

Not nearly enough aid has been reaching the people in Gaza. Please work to see that all needed aid is allowed to get to them. Most of these citizens are innocent of any crimes and have been injured physically and emotionally. The U.S. should stop all military aid to Israel.

Tyler
|
Washington, USA
March 1, 2009

Tyler in Washington writes:

The best path forward for Gaza is:

1) for the United States to pressure Israel to do what is in Israel's own best interests: open up the border crossings;

2) for the U.S. and Israel to broaden and deepen their support of Mahmoud Abbass and the Palestinian Authority, our already-proven genuine partners for peace;

3) for the U.S. to attend meetings between Hammas and the Palestinian Authority to work out a national unity government that recognizes Israel's right to exist and renounces violence as a political tactic;

4) for the U.S. to censure Israel for excessive use of force during Operation Cast Lead, and to warn Israel that the irresponsible and cruel use of force in the future will impair the U.S.A.'s ability to sponsor Israel's military.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts!

Syrian P.
|
Syria
March 1, 2009

SNP in Syria writes:

@ JACOBO L in NM -- Excellent statistics you presented here. But you see Islam is just another Ammonite deception scheme. There are 1500 million so called Moslems, but this number is somehow misleading. The fact is, there are just a dozen Moslem rulers who own all the wealth, and have literally destitute the rest of the hundreds of millions you counted, not just economically, but culturally, spiritually and militarily, for those hundreds of millions you counted, life is about meeting physical survival necessities, praying five times a day and reciting the Quran hourly . Many like the Iranian 80 million Moslems, they just pretend to be one in name that is all, in a bid to cease the rest of the Moslems and enslave them in Hezbollah and Hamas styled armies of non productive and ultra destructive brigades. They never really help Moslems progress in anyway. They invest in religious Marduk coming again zealots schools, not science centers in the Islamic World, they will help a Moslem financially if he to strap bomb belt around his or his daughter chest and blow Jews and Sunni up but they will never ever help a Moslem seeking other ways.

The hoarded riches those dozen Moslem rulers are not used to build the national economies; they are privately invested with no public oversight by the rulers in Western Banks and Real Estate investments. So they really don't have that money. It will all be lost soon in the financial meltdown that is ongoing now and for some time.

Patty B.
|
Colorado, USA
March 1, 2009

Patty B. in Colorado writes:

It is their problem. Not ours. Let them solve it.

We don't need to be the police for every country.

Gaza is always starting the problem. They won't listen to anyone, anyway.

susan
|
Washington, USA
March 1, 2009

Susan in Washington writes:

The massive Gaza Marine Gas field that was discovered in 2000 by the British firm BG can more than just alleviate the suffering of the Gazans. It can aise the standard of living of all Palestinians by providing them with an immediate economic base.

It was estimated to have 4-5 Billion Dollars worth of natural gas. Israel has been trying to co-opt this resource from the Palestinians even though they clearly do not have a right to control it nor the water tables below Gaza or the West bank.

It is time for the UN and the U.S. to step up to the plate and demand that Israel backs off from claiming the right to control the economic future of the Gazans and all Palestinians.

They will not need International "welfare" if they are allowed to develop their own resources. It is unacceptable that they would only receive 10 cents on the dollar from their own natural gas. They should be able to choose their own contractors to develop their gas resources on their own terms.

Israel should also have to replant all those olive trees that were planted with the help of UN peace groups. They should also pay for all damage to schools and hospitals built with UN funds and intentionally destroyed by Israeli IDF troops.

Martha
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 1, 2009

Martha in Massachusetts writes:

ALL parties must be involved in talks. Declaring Hamas to be a terrorist organization and then refusing to deal with it was a disaster. As with Northern Ireland, it is precisely the party needed at the table. And after Israel's attack on Gaza it is stronger than ever both in Gaza and in the West Bank. By drawing it in there is the chance to transform it to a responsible party.

The U.S. also must stop selling weapons to Israel, especially experimental weapons (heavy metals, DU) cluster bombs and white phosphorus. There is no way they can use them legally given the population density of the surrounding areas. For us to provide them makes up partners in war crimes. And we must challenge the way they have used them in this last war.

It is time to stop totally supporting everything Israel does. I am glad to hear that voice developing and hope it continues.

Todd
|
District Of Columbia, USA
March 1, 2009

Todd in Washington, DC writes:

The first step is that the United States should pressure Israel to stop all military missions against the Palestinian people, immediately. Being that they are militarily stronger and recognizing that the actual physical and human threat of random rockets is relatively low although politically high; this would show significant leadership to the world stage. This stance does not have to be made public, but it would be incredibly powerful if it was.

Second, the Hamas and Fatah need to create a unity government that recognizes Israel's existence and begin a power sharing agreement according to the results of the next election.

Third, the United States should recognize Hamas, whether we like them or not, as a democratically elected party of the people. Condition of this recognition is that Hamas denounces terrorism immediately, stop the firing of all rockets into Israel populations, and instead agrees to bring all future grievances to the United Nations Security Council.

Step four, which I believe is possible if Step 1 is accomplished, then the U.S. should stop supporting Israel's military actions against Palestinians unequivocally and let Israel's actions be governed according to global law and policed by the United Nations Security Council. A good example of this is Israel's use of the banned caustic chemical phosphorous militarily against Palestinian citizens in 2009. If the United Nations Security Council wishes to pursue war crimes against Israel for using phosphorous, the United States should take a wait and see attitude, let Israel defend itself, and pass judgment later. This would possibly make them more accountable and more even handed in their dealings with Palestinians. We should support our ally, but make them more accountable for their actions at the same time.

If we can make 1-4 happen in some order, the future of the equally innocent Palestinians and Israelis would be brightened while dimming one of the roots of current extremism.

President Obama is in a unique position of being a complete break from traditional U.S. political thinking and has an opportunity to evolve American foreign policy. By applying fresh and honest eyes on the 60 year crisis, we have an opportunity to safely push the Middle East's current trajectory away from further chaos and further human suffering. Only when all nations adhere to international law will the world be safe, including equally innocent Israelis and Palestinians, and will America regain our much deserved moral high ground.

God bless America.

Ezra
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 1, 2009

Ezra in Massachusetts writes:

Call a summit of all MidEast countries and parties involved with Gaza and listen to their concerns. Also, the U.S. should stop providing the weapons Israel uses to bomb Gaza, which we then have to rebuild.

William
|
Florida, USA
March 2, 2009

William in Florida writes:

The United States has adopt a stance of neutrality and move away from the tilt toward Israel. Since 2006, Israel has made war against Lebanon and Gaza by principally attacks the citizenry of these areas.

The United States has to declare that attacking civilian populations and depriving the people of Gaza the right to operate its ports and have access to humanitarian goods is now at an end.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
March 2, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

We cannot tell Isreal or Hamas what they can or cannot do. Every country of Nation has the rights to defend its people. We can offer ideas on how to settle the problems but we cannot be the problem. I can suggest that the people of Gaza move because it just might make sense. However, some head strong people might disagree. The whole Gaza Strip needs to be re-evaluated and for humanity the ones injured in the battle need to be taken care of.

I can even agree with Joe from Tennessee that Egypt can take a bigger role of handing the refugees until they can determine what happens to Gaza.

It's easy for us to sit back and play politics but were talking about real people, real lives, and real threats. I also understand it's in the interest of the new Administration to tone things down. It's just like President Obama's torture policy, it's wonderful for United States but what about the other Nations in the world who continue torturing and given the opportunity they would keep doing it to American people abroad. I'm obviously against torture as well, just pointing out there should be a United Nations Mandate for all countries around the world to follow President's Obama's Lead.

I don't think torturing is the best method to gain valued intelligence from terror suspects. There are other methods that would work without the use of force and get the same results.

Godbless and let's hope and pray that Peace will happen for all People, all religons and all neighbors to get along.

Renee D.
|
California, USA
March 2, 2009

Renee D. in California writes:

The current U.S. policy on this question supports a Two State solution. However, proponents for a One State solution argue that this is the only reasonable solution toward stabilizing Gaza. What must be understood with regard to the devastating violence experience by both sides, is that the true victims of these actions are innocent children and their mothers.

Forums for dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli officials, as well as respective citizens, would build mutual understanding about their common need to develop healthy families and communities to promote a strong, prosperous society, whether as one nation or two. The United States must continue to play an active role, as it is now by participating in the Donor's Conference hosted by Egypt. In addition to support for humanitarian assistance, education initiatives that promote the development of non-violent communication skills in Israel, inclusive of Gaza, should be enacted or endorsed. The education of a young mind is an investment toward peace in Gaza, and it would seem, far less costly than the alternative.

Kathy
|
Ohio, USA
March 2, 2009

Kathy in Ohio writes:

Get rid of Hamas, the Palestian people need to learn to live on their own and not follow a terrorist group that has no problem putting their citizens in front of them when someone is trying to kill them. Hamas will do anything and are so full of hate that don't care who suffers.

Lea
|
California, USA
March 2, 2009

Lea in California writes:

The way forward in Gaza must begin with providing security along the border and lifting the siege (ie opening the crossings as soon as possible. Interim guarantors can be replaced by permanent security forces/agreements as the steps below are carried out.

U.S. should advise Israel, our close ally, to...

1. Release Marwan Barghouti. His release would provide an alternative to Hamas that Hamas can work with, and increases the chance that a unity government representing a majority of Palestinians can be established

2. Get the Arab League, EU and U.S. to support reconciliation of Palestinian Unity government, with promise of UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF TAX REVENUES Israeli is holding back once that is patched back together. With Dahlan out, and Barghouti free, it's possible. Hamas (moderates) say they want it. The major reason Abbas is saying "no", is because U.S. and Israel are supporting that stance.

3. Israel renounces principle of "expanding existing settlements" in West Bank and particularly around Jerusalem.

4. Israel announces it will stop construction of parallel road system in West Bank

5. Israel announces that as a good will gesture it is ceasing its excavation/repairs at base of the Temple Mount.

6. U.S. announces effort to convene conference of all outside parties providing weapons to begin talks to reduce arms flow into Israel, West Bank and Gaza. This is tricky but can be done, in a face saving manner for everyone.

After that we/EU/Arab League broker a peace deal that addresses...

Jerusalem

Water

Right of Return in context of the disposition of hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in same breath as fate of Palestinian diaspora is discussed. Any compensation discussion should include claims by both Palestinians and Jews displaced since 1948 from British Mandate and surrounding Arab countries.

Elaine
|
Oregon, USA
March 2, 2009

Elaine in Oregon writes:

Stop U.S. economic aid to Israel (billions used for military purposes). Pressure Israel to end its 41-year illegal military occupation (Gaza is still occupied, even though Israeli settlers and army have left the Gaza Strip). Israel still controls Gaza air space, borders, coastal areas. 1.4 million Palestinians are locked inside the tiny Gaza strip like prisoners. Israel is using U.S. made weapons illegally against Palestinian civilians. Enforce United Nations resolutions 242 and 238. Support the Arab League proposal. Stop U.S. vetoes of UN security council resolutions condemning Israeli belligerence. Do all this and it will be the beginning of a true and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Gilbert
|
New York, USA
March 2, 2009

Gilbert in New York writes:

First step could for the United States Department of State to prevent saboteurs of its own efforts in combating terrorism and restoring peace to post such a malicious, relativist and propagandistic pictures in their own official blog. Just like the one above.

Jonathan
|
California, USA
March 2, 2009

Jonathan in California writes:

Absolutely more multilateral talks.... POTUS and SOS should host the Israeli and Palestinian (as well as other stakeholders) leaders to a summit in the United States: perhaps to Obama's native Oahu! A summit in the U.S.A. would facilitate further dialogue necessary to reach some accord(s).

Dorothy
|
Nevada, USA
March 2, 2009

Dorothy in Nevada writes:

Two state solution is best. However, we have been supporting Israel since the time of Truman and I really do not believe that Israel has always been fair and cooperative with the Palestinian People. Israel needs to get out of the Gaza Strip and allow the people to lead their lives unrestricted. It is , in my opinion, time for the United States to withold money, weapons or whatever else to put pressure on Israel to cooperate. It is time for Israel to stand up for itself and function on its own. They have been an economic and political drain on this country far beyond reason. Why aren't other countries in the region or the world also taking care of Israel with their money, weapons and diplomats? Maybe it is because Israel has proved so difficult to work with---we have watched as citizens of the United States the number of times U.S. Presidents have tried to hold Israel's hand and lead them to a cooperative solution. We can still be their allies---but it is time to let the "child" grow and move out into the world on their own. Good Luck to Secretary Clinton and her Team---they will need it. Thank you for the opportunity to express my thoughts.

Chul-hong
|
South Korea
March 2, 2009

Chul-hong in South Korea writes:

The essence of handling issues in Gaza or Palestine is, as we know, not democratic but ethnic. That is to say, religion should be regarded as a substantial matter.

Since the establishment of Israel, U.S. has viewed that region mostly with the sight of Israel, which has provoked aversion of Arab-nations.

In my opinion, Obama administration which declares remodeled access to that region may as well set the symmetric position between Israel and Palestine.

Also, Israel which has intentionally ignored and overlooked Palestine so long time should acknowledge the entity of Palestine for cornerstone of the peace. In this context, Israel should withdraw step-by-step it's military from the conflicted area as a token of presenting its will for the peace.

History says that Israel and Palestine have migrated mainly from the same continent, Europe. So, the EU should participate in mediating two states more actively than ever.

Simply put, most of all, the strong will, shared by involved individual states, toward the peace will be able to enhance the deadlock situation.

Elizabeth W.
|
Michigan, USA
March 2, 2009

Elizabeth W. in Michigan writes:

My thoughts are that Gaza should be given humanitarian help (ie food and water) not based upon their governments actions (such as missile strikes) because without intervention by the outside world there will never be a desire by the people in Gaza to see a new government. Once humanitarian needs are met however, I think that Gaza needs an industry, a purpose and I'm not sure if we can provide that or not but it's something to think about.

Tony
|
South Carolina, USA
March 2, 2009

Tony in South Carolina writes:

I do not believe sending another $900M dollars to the Gaza strip is the fiscal and proper way to resolve this problem. I believe what needs to be done first is fix our own fiscal problems here in the U.S. before we are spending almost a trillion dollars somewhere else to rebuild something that is just going to get destroyed again. I do not believe that we should spend any money there until they can guarantee that the fighting has ended. That is like throwing good money after bad. We rebuild and they destroy it again. We have our own money problems here in the U.S. I live in a small town in South Carolina and they have had their school budget slashed so drastically in the last six months that they are not sure what they are going to do next year. We should be spending that money here in our own country before we worry about other people that donot care about us in the least.

We are always sending money to other countries when they have some type of catastrophe but when something happens here in the U.S. such as Katrina do you see any of those countries offering anything to help us.

Dennis
March 2, 2009

Dennis writes:

Tell Hamas to spend more time and energy smuggling in food and medicine from Egypt rather than weapons.

Kirk
|
Kentucky, USA
March 2, 2009

Kirk in Kentucky writes:

I don't know what the best path forward for Gaza is, but for the U.S. it is to drop any effort supporting either Gaza or Israel.

The purpose of a nation's foreign affairs efforts is to further our ends, open trade opportunities, and bend other nations to our will so that we are in a more advantageous position on the world stage than before. How does pouring our money and energy into either one of those sand pits help us achieve that?

It baffles me that so much of the discussion about Gaza revolves around fixing the regions problems and yet I've not once heard a good explanation as to how that helps the U.S.

Let's focus our energy where it counts, on allies that can return our investments, not on charity to places that only squander it on their own stupid philosophical differences.

Heather
|
California, USA
March 2, 2009

Heather in California writes:

I think that humanitarian aid for survival and rebuilding in Gaza, as has begun, is a great way to start. Excellent!

Going forward in the Israel/Palestine peace process:

I think that all parties need to be heard, including Likkud and Hamas, and treated with respect, even if we differ strongly with philosophies and policies. There needs to be a sense that the plan put forward takes into account the feelings and experiences of the people in the region.

At some point I think that President Obama should come to Gaza.

The eyes of the Arab world are watching closely. If we go forward with respect, it will signal a marked change in our attitude.

A very thorny issue is arms sales to other nations, including Israel. Something needs to change here. It is unsafe and it gives the message that we will go to any lengths to support Israel no matter what they do.

Thank you for your interest in feedback from the public.

Sincerely,
Heather F., MD

Matthew
|
Michigan, USA
March 2, 2009

Matthew in Michigan writes:

I strongly disagree with giving Gaza any money, let alone $900M. This part of the world hates America, why would we do this when we have such a great need here within our borders.

Erica
|
California, USA
March 2, 2009

Erica in California writes:

No more weapons or money sent into the region -- not to Israel or to anyone else -- only items to support medical care, food and farming, and infrastructure.

Daniel
|
Colorado, USA
March 2, 2009

Daniel in Colorado writes:

I believe that the real question is how to deal with the Palestinians?

How do you deal with a people who revel in violence? What means do you use to deal with them? What actions do you take that they understand?

We are talking about a people that attempt to kill Israelis, and when they can't do that they attempt to kill each other because that person is Fatah, or Hamas, or a Sunni, or a Shiite, or, or, or where does it stop?

A lot of posts on here have blamed Israel for their response to the attacks. But the question is have we as Americans acted any differently? Yes we were attacked and look at the response we as a nation undertook.

How would America react if say Canada were to begin launching rockets into Chicago, New York, Seattle? Would we stand idly by and allow them to continue? Or would we take steps to stop the attacks? I am in no way saying that Israel is not at fault in any way!

I believe that the way to change is through the children. Education is the path out of the dark ages. Maybe if the UN could step in and set up schools that have an approved curriculum in a k-12 environment and tie attendance to some sort of food program so that children and families that attend the UN schools receive extra food and the children receive a breakfast and a lunch every day that they attend. And after school they are provided a food package to take home to their families. This ensures that the children will attend these schools and receive a proper education and food, and that their families are fed as well.

Michelle
|
Virginia, USA
March 2, 2009

Michelle in Virginia writes:

I don't see how its possible to have peace in the Middle East without talking to Hamas -- like it or not. Since Hamas is one of the parties in the dispute, and one of the groups that apparently is providing social services to the people that the Abbas government is not. People don't resort to membership or support of terrorist organizations on a whim. There are things Hamas is providing that no one else is attending to. If border crossings are closed and water, medical supplies, food etc. are in short supply or unavailable, the world (esp. Israel) is basically leaving the Palestinians to die (and therefore, hopefully go away). This is what breeds terrorism and hardens people. If we want to get rid of Hamas, we get rid of their support base. If we want to get rid of their suport, we take care of thse people's very real and humanitarian needs, and be fair. We're not being asked to choose Palestine over Israel, we are simply being asked to be fair: If we are a nation that truly believes in human rights, we cannot just blindly support Israel. I am a Christian too, and I think its God's job to judge, and our job to 'love our Palestinian neighbors as much as ourselves, and as much as our Israeli neighbors. Otherwise, we merely act as enablers, and Israel acts as a spoilt child that doesn't grow up!

As a citizen of the world, and particularly as a young person, nothing would make me happier than world peace. Whether we like it or not, Hamas stands for something to some people (supporters). We need to figure out what Hamas is providing that Abbas' govt. isn't, and then, we as the international community need to stand in that gap. I strongly believe that people don't resort to membership or support of organizations like Hamas on a whim. Clearly there are things Hamas is providing that no one else is attending to: If border crossings are closed and water, medical supplies, food etc. are in short supply or unavailable, the world (esp. Israel) is basically leaving the Palestinians to die (and therefore, hopefully go away). This is what breeds violent reactions and hardens people. If we want to get rid of Hamas, or the idea of a group that feels it must resort to violence, then we must coax that group's support base away from them. If we want to get rid of Hamas' support, we take care of the Palestinians' very real social and humanitarian needs, and, even harder than that, we be fair. We're not being asked to choose Palestine over Israel, we are simply being asked to be fair: Living in America, I know there is a strong emotional tie to Israel. But, if we are a nation that truly believes in human rights, we cannot just blindly support Israel. In addition to being a citizen of the world, I'm a Christian, and I think its God's job to judge, and our job to carry out God's (paraphrased) commandment to 'love our Palestinian neighbors and our Jewish neighbors as much as ourselves'. Otherwise, we distort the Gospel and merely act as enablers.

I think we, like Israel and much of the rest of the world make the mistake of believing that we can correct a historic wrong (the Holocaust) by perpetuating another (making the Palestinians landless). And we think we need to help God achieve the salvation of Israel. God is all powerful, if he said love was the greatest commandment of all, then love trumps trying to give Israel a leg-up, and that therefore obviously isn't the kind of help God needs.

As an American of African origin, I understand the emotional, social, and cultural significance of land. As one from a country colonized centuries before I was born, I can still say it hurts a lot when your birthright has been taken away, and it hurts to still be dealing with the effects- social inequalities such as skewed access to resources, widespread poverty, etc- in the present day. That hurt, unacknowledged and unaddressed, is the other factor motivating Palestinian-to- Israeli violence. That hurt unvalidated and unaddressed is like the nebulous force to which crimes of passion are attributed. Until the basic needs and the right to land claims of the Palestinians begin to be met in a way that Palestinians themselves agree is just, the world will not achieve Middle East peace.

We can make Hamas irrelevant in the manner stated above- ie. by satisfying the Palestinian need for justice and sustenance ourselves. Until we get to that point, we need to engage Hamas. Like it or not, Hamas is one of the parties involved in the dispute, and one of the aggrieved parties, so it defies logic to sidestep them in the peace process.

Jaqueline
March 2, 2009

Jaqueline writes:

You really need to stop trying to fetter Israel. God blesses those that bless Israel and curses those that curse Israel. The so called 'palestinians' are just Jordanian refugees that Jordan refuses to allow into their country because they are a convenient pawn and weapon against Israel. Study the history of the area, the Balfour Declaration... There are NO 'palestinian' peoples. Just a group of very poor, brainwashed, refugees being used as a tool by their brethren in a war that they cannot win. God's word will truly come to pass, Israel will never be wiped off the face of the map as the muslims wish. It's folly to try to further their satanically inspired agenda.

Esther
|
California, USA
March 2, 2009

Esther R. in California writes:

Secretary Clinton must try to get Israel to open the border crossings so that Gaza can get humanitarian aid. The prisoner issue should be considered separately. Secretary Clinton must also impress upon the Israelis the need to stop building settlements and the separation barrier in the West Bank. We should tie our economic, military, and political aid to Israel to Israel's taking specific steps toward peace.

Secretary Clinton must stop making demands on the Palestinians unless she makes the same demands on the Israelis--i.e., to recognize the right of Palestinians to a viable state west of the Jordan River, to renounce violence, and to honor previous commitments. If she cannot make these demands of the Israelis, she should stop making these demands on the Palestinians. The best thing is to MOVE AHEAD WITH PEACE TALKS WITHOUT PRECONDITIONS.

We must determine whether Operation Cast Lead violated the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.

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