January 16, 2019

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If Israel presents a plan to actually help Gaza, then the Arabs must oppose it on principle


Haaretz reported last week:

Representatives of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United States participated in an emergency conference in Brussels on Wednesday of countries and organizations that provide financial support for Palestinians.

Israel presented humanitarian assistance plans at the gathering for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip with a focus on desalination, electricity and natural gas infrastructure projects in addition to upgrading of the industrial zone at the Erez border crossing with Israel. The total cost of the projects is estimated at a billion dollars, which Israel asked the international community to fund.The plan was first reported by Haaretz.

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who represented Israel at the conference, presented the plans but noted that carrying them out would require that the PA take responsibility for civilian life in Gaza, which has been under the control of Hamas since the Islamist movement forcefully ousted the PA there in 2007.

Middle East Memo, a pro-Hamas site, says that anything Israel suggests must be bad for Palestinians and must be resisted.

Taking their cues from the misguided and erroneously depicted narrative about Gaza, the international community will likely acquiesce to Israel’s latest demand and thus, as a result, fund both colonialism and Israel’s security narrative which is integral to the development which Israel is allegedly envisaging for the territory.

The Israeli plan for Gaza’s infrastructure, therefore, is a step towards alienation. Ushering in a new form of dependency upon Palestinians in Gaza is not a step towards economic opportunity. This time there are many opportunities for Israel, which can extend its warped concept of humanitarian aid and development to a population which it has coldly and deliberately terrorised, murdered and maimed over many decades. Approval by the international community, including finance for the proposed projects, will allow Israel to push the limits in collaboration further. In the event that Israel decides to raze Gaza again with another brutal military offensive, the financial hits will be incurred by its international accomplices, following the established pattern of Israel’s demolition of EU-funded structures, only more severely. It is clear that Israel is seeking to inflict similar repercussions on the remaining fragments of Palestinian territory and there is no swifter way to achieve this than by inviting the international community to participate.

Somehow, helping desalinate Gaza’s water and providing it with electricity and natural gas is just more Israeli colonialism. And insisting that the PA take over the territory only benefits Israeli security – which cannot be allowed.

Also, by some magic, Gaza can get its electricity and water needs fulfilled without Israeli involvement.

The best part, though, is the whining that this plan would be a “new form of dependency” for Gaza. Accepting aid from UNRWA and the EU and the US and hundreds of international NGOs, each with their own agendas, is dignified, but accepting an Israeli plan that would be funded by these same states and organizations is humiliating.

There is no better example of both the honor/shame culture and the zero-sum game mentality of the Arabs than this article.

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