Gaza needs you not to look away just yet

Amjad Yamin
Amjad Yamin (Photo: Jordan News)
The Gaza Strip will be “unlivable” by 2020 because of multiple military offensives on the strip and the crippling blockade, the UN said about Gaza in 2012. Add two more escalations in 2014 and 2021 and I am not sure what is the next step after unlivable.اضافة اعلان

The current situation in Gaza is beyond dire. Around 2 million people, 1.4 million of whom are refugees, live on a very small strip of land, in what was described by many as the world’s largest open-air prison. There are eight refugee camps and a 40 percent unemployment rate. Eighty per cent are dependent on international assistance and 40 per cent struggle to put food on the table.

That’s the status quo that the world is hoping Gaza will return to now the ceasefire has been agreed on; that is currently the best-case scenario for people in Gaza. 

The problem is that the belligerent parties will learn, if they have not already, that the world will pay attention to what is happening if they escalate the violence. If they do not, even when they have legitimate concerns such as evictions in Sheikh Jarrah — the last piece in a settlement link surrounding East Jerusalem, which is eyed by Palestinians is a possible future capital — blockade and intentional starvation, the world will not listen to their plight. 

But it seems that the warring parties have seen the benefit to the periodic escalation, and if that continues that is what we will continue to see: Anger and resentment rises among the Palestinians leading to peaceful demonstrations, the world continues to ignore what is happening, then somebody takes advantage of that.

The cessation of hostilities following the last ceasefire seems to be holding. So now the world’s eyes will slowly turn away from Gaza. That is where the problem is. The world is rewarding the conflict with every escalation of violence and tells its story, but seemingly forgets about it during relative peace. 

For better or for worse, it seems that the views on the conflict in the US are shifting slightly back to the center. This does not necessarily signal a big shift in policy globally, but it can be used by the different actors to point to a success in strategy. One party will say we have successfully, “mowed the lawn” (one of the most offensive ways to describe the “collateral” killing of children and the destruction of vital civilian infrastructure) and the other will have resisted the aggression.

All of this is happening at the cost of civilian lives. But both sides seem to believe that is a fair price to pay.

We need to sustain diplomacy until the status quo is no longer the prosperity of Israel and the suffering of Palestinians. We need to address the root causes and avoid another round of finger pointing, or we will find ourselves, a few years from now, looking at another escalation for the same reasons.

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