Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Rebuilding Gaza is rebuilding terrorism Rebuilding Gaza is in Israel's interest. The logic is that if my neighbor is happy, I'm happy. $4 billion for the residents of Gaza? Yes. $4 billion for Hamas terrorists? No. If only naivete could be bought with money. What will we do when we run out of that commodity?
But what is one to do when that neighbor voted to give Hamas a majority in parliament in a democratic election in 2006? A year and a half later, in June 2007, boosted by the electoral backwind, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip. The rest is history, and, unfortunately for us, it is also reality.
Our problem is that even after 51 difficult days of fighting this summer, our Palestinian neighbor still does not understand that the way to rebuild Gaza is not through the bank ($4 billion), but by removing Hamas from the picture. That is not so simple (as we know better than anyone else), but we would have expected the Palestinian Authority to at least show aversion toward the rogue movement, rather than embracing Ismail Haniyeh's party. This was expressed in PA President Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the U.N. General Assembly. A speech, which, by the way, adapted itself to match public opinion in Gaza (a political horizon?).
The world got together for Gaza in Cairo. The donor conference was held to recruit funds for the people of Gaza. Israel has no problem with this. In fact, Israel, for those who may have forgotten, became a fundraiser for the Palestinians at the Paris conference in 1994, following the Oslo Accords.
For those who have forgotten, those were the days when Yasser Arafat played the part of Malala Yousafzai, the young woman from Pakistan (remember the Nobel Peace Prize?). It took several years before the world realized what Arafat did with the money. We were more naive then. Nowadays, it is a bit more difficult to convince us that money for tunnels will be used to rebuild buildings. Several years have passed since the Paris Protocol, and from the world's perspective, the Israeli occupation is still the source of the problems in the Middle East, and maybe also in Kashmir.
If someone could promise us that the money would help the citizens of Gaza, I might even have sent over my own modest donation. After all, "Far better a neighbor that is near than a brother far off" (Proverbs 27:10). But with Hamas still in the picture, and Abbas competing with Haniyeh over who is more extreme in his policies on Israel in order to win the hearts of Gazan voters, it is clear that the donor conference is not going to build a new Middle East, or even a new Gaza.
It is difficult for the world to grasp that Israel has its own sizeable interest in Gazans having good lives, because we are close by, and when a Gazan sneezes, we have to blow our noses, and vice versa. This is not the case with the British, the Russians, the French or the Koreans.
$4 billion for the residents of Gaza? Yes. $4 billion for Hamas terrorists? No. If only naivete could be bought with money. What will we do when we run out of that commodity?