Despite the destruction wrought by Israel in Gaza during “Operation Protective Edge”, Israel’s demands remain a high priority for the international community. Speaking to the UN Security Council, UN Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry hinted at the importance of the ceasefire addressing Israel’s perpetual security concerns – an indirect assertion managed by urging Palestinian resistance factions to comply with the unity government. Utilising the usual rhetoric of conflict and concern, Serry ensured that discussion of Palestinian needs remained marginalised in order to accentuate Israel’s demands.
The sequence of statements attempted to eliminate Hamas from the political scene by referring to the compromised unity government and the importance of recognising a single governing entity in Gaza – one that excludes the resistance movement from the scene. Serry’s comments summarise the essence of Egypt’s proposals, which aims to establish international interference in conjunction with increased subjugation of the Palestinian people.
“Right now, Gaza urgently needs houses, hospitals, and schools – not rockets, tunnels and conflict.” The blatant misrepresentation of reality is accentuated by the mention of “conflict” – a term that aids in displacing blame from Israel to Hamas. However, implicit in the statement is the humanitarian misrepresentation of Palestinians’ needs. Serry’s statement seeks to differentiate between needs that are universally recognised as basic human rights, while neglecting affirmation that rockets and tunnels provide the only means so far, through which resistance and liberation can be fought. The tactic is reminiscent of UN-affiliated organisations that perpetually undermine the political Palestinian struggle through the insular perspective of humanitarian concerns divested from colonial and imperialist aggression. At the moment, Gaza is in need of the infrastructure and basic services which Israel demolished to further its plans of colonisation.
Serry’s elimination of Hamas from the political discourse is taking on a sense of urgency that is reflected elsewhere. Parroting the Egyptian proposal has also obliterated Hamas’ role in Gaza; in spite of the movement’s intricate role in providing basic services for Palestinians in Gaza, in addition to its political responsibility. The marginalising of Hamas serves various colonial purposes. In the absence of a formidable political power in Gaza, international interference is facilitated through the deployment of PA security forces in Gaza. Prior to the ceasefire, US officials expressed the intention to facilitate PA dominance in the enclave – a move which would alter, but not necessarily eliminate, the dynamics of resistance in Gaza.
If the Egyptian proposal is implemented, Palestinians in Gaza can expect reconstruction and the return of basic services over a period of time. However, the necessary gains will be wrought at a price which will be detrimental to the strategy of liberation. Protective Edge and Israel’s allies acting as negotiators have ascertained one basic premise – that of obliterating long-term planning through widespread destruction. It is also convenient that UN personnel have adhered to Israel’s colonial conquest plans while portraying the alleged solutions as imperative. As in other situations created by the settler-colonial state, Palestinians seem destined to remain tethered to temporary relief – a situation generated by Israel and upheld wholeheartedly by organisations whose competency is reflected in the dissecting of the humanitarian from the political.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.