August 1, 2021

In Gaza, UN calls for resolution of “root causes” of Israeli-Palestinian conflict

After the “Trauma” of the fourth war between Hamas and Israel, the United Nations (UN) called, Sunday, May 23, for a long-term reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, stressing the need to resolve the “Root causes” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in order to restore “Hope” and avoid new « destructions ».

“We must not simply place ourselves in a reconstruction approach (…), because it comes down to Sisyphus: you build, you destroy, you rebuild, you destroy. We must have a broader approach centered on human development ”, estimated at Agence France-Presse (AFP) Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In Gaza, where the ceasefire came into effect at 2 a.m. on Friday, public services are picking up rubble and traders whose shops have been blown up by the bombardments are assessing their losses. Already precarious infrastructure was also damaged, including power lines. Some 800,000 Gazans did not have “No lasting access to drinking water”, while water desalination plants have been damaged by the conflict.

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Avoid “artificial normality”

Beyond the thousand apartments destroyed, roads cracked here and there, damage to water treatment infrastructure, this is the whole question of psychological trauma due to the bombardments and the question of the future of the band. Gaza – and Palestine in general – is emerging. “Which therefore means that it must be accompanied by a real political process”adds Mr. Lazzarini. The latter also underlines the need to avoid “Artificial normality” in Gaza, where the two million inhabitants, and in particular the young, would be dependent on aid, with no future, “Until the next eruption of violence”.

Hence the importance of dealing with “Root causes” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which signifies for example the importance of the lifting by Israel of the blockade imposed since 2007 on this Palestinian territory.

“There may have been fewer houses destroyed than during the 2014 war”, added Lynn Hastings, human aid coordinator for the Palestinian territories, whose services currently amount to a thousand businesses or residences “Completely destroyed”. More “One thing I have heard is that the people of Gaza are more traumatized than ever (…), several people [sont] hopeless “ and that “Must really be taken into consideration”, she added.

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Bags of food provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in Gaza City, May 22, 2021.

Diplomatic issue

The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which entered into force on Friday, mediated by Egypt, did not set any conditions for stopping the fighting nor established a plan for reconstruction. An Egyptian delegation is in the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas, in power in the enclave.

Dozens of trucks of international aid began pouring in on Friday through the Kerem Shalom crossings, on the border with Israel, and those of Rafah, on the Egyptian border. On Sunday, officials in the Gaza Strip resumed their work.

In the short term, the stake in the reconstruction of Gaza is not only humanitarian; it is also diplomatic, the Israeli army accusing, for example, Hamas of having diverted international aid to military activities and of using the metal of the pipes to make rockets.

This new war killed 248 people in the Palestinian enclave, including 66 children and fighters, according to local authorities. In Israel, rocket fire from Gaza killed 12 people, including a child, a teenage girl and a soldier, police said.

The World with AFP