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Monday, February 02, 2009

Finally someone has the guts to say it: Say no to reconstruction of Gaza

Finally someone (Efraim Inbar) has the guts to say it, and amazingly the JPost has the guts to publish it: We should just say no to the reconstruction of Gaza.
The recent military offensive against Hamas inflicted heavy damage on Gaza. Aside from punishing Hamas for its rocket attacks, the beating was meant to demonstrate to reasonable Palestinians that Hamas attacks would only bring them havoc and suffering. Theoretically, the results of Operation Cast Lead would seem to complement the international community's efforts to make the lives of the Palestinians under Abbas better then those of the Gazans.

Yet, this rationale seems to evaporate in a mush of sentimentalist manipulation. Instead of using the tough pictures coming out of Gaza to tell Gazans: "We told you all along that Hamas leadership would only make things worse" (just as it has in other places where radical Islamists gain power), Western leaders seem to have foolishly decided that Gaza should speedily be rebuilt. This, of course, sends the wrong signal. It tells Palestinians that their leadership can make grave, deadly mistakes, and nevertheless gullible Westerners will bail them out. It also signals to Hamas that it can continue shooting; for if Israel repeats its military action, merciful Westerners again will repair the damage.

There is no way to reconstruct Gaza without strengthening Hamas. The PA has no standing in the Strip anymore. Aid through the UN is less objectionable, but Hamas will benefit from this too. Which leads us back to square one, because Hamastan must not be rebuilt by the world. The reconstruction of Hamastan in Gaza - an Iranian base that threatens Israel and many moderate Arab regimes - makes no strategic sense.

America helped reconstruct Western Europe and Japan after World War II to make sure they would be ruled by friendly democratic regimes. Hamas is authoritarian and anti-Western. It is simply daft to facilitate the continuation of Hamas rule.
There's another huge difference between Germany and Japan after World War II and Hamas today. The United States helped reconstruct Germany and Japan after totally defeating them militarily and as part of a military occupation that continued until the United States and its allies could be sure that the political elements that gave rise to World War II - Nazism and fascism - were soundly defeated and would not return. Without the de-Nazification part of the program, the United States would never have reconstructed Germany (for example) into the industrial power it became.

Inbar is right. To reconstruct Hamastan under the same odious group of terrorists who are determined to wipe out the Jewish state sends the message to the 'Palestinians' - yet again - that their actions have no consequences. They can behave however they wish and the world will feel sorry for them and continue to shower them with money and resources.
Looking at Palestinian economic performance, it is also clear that reconstruction of Gaza is unlikely to be successful. Since the Oslo process started in 1993, the Palestinians received many billions of euros and dollars, scoring the highest per capita aid in the world. Much of it was squandered by corruption and ineptitude. Very little aid filtered down to the people. Like many Third World countries, the Palestinians lack the legal and institutional infrastructure needed for effective dispersal of economic aid. Gaza is behind the West Bank in its development, making it an even less suitable candidate for effective international aid. Nevertheless, the standard of living of the Gazans is still higher than the Egyptians.

From what we know of the fortunes of the humanitarian aid transferred to the Gazans in recent year, it is clear that a large proportion of the benefits of the external aid will be siphoned off to the Hamas leadership, followed by Hamas activists, and only what is left will go to the destitute. Those with arms always get the first and best cut from international aid sent to the suffering.
We've seen that quite recently, haven't we?
FINALLY, THE morality of pouring money so that Gazans can live better is questionable. Many, many Gazans are defined by UNRWA as refugees. They have lived at the expense of the international community for more than six decades, on the dole and economically dependent, with no resettlement or real rehabilitation attempted. This is morally wrong. People - even Palestinians! - should be encouraged to take responsibility and get on with their lives. The 1948 war is long over, and these people are not "returning." Additional aid to Gaza only increases their addiction to foreign aid and to their false dreams of destroying Israel.
But... but... the 'humanitarian crisis,' you might say. Remember this picture taken January 14 in Gaza City:

Reports of the 'humanitarian crisis' have been greatly exaggerated. And even if it exists, it's time for the 'Palestinians' to take responsibility for it.


At 1:45 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

That's what I've said Carl and what Daniel Pipes has long advocated - cut the Palestinians loose. It may be counterintuitive but the counterintuitive oddly enough is the only thing that has a chance of succeeding in the Middle East. What we can be sure is that more of the same won't.


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