A US delegation made up of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, and special envoy to the Middle East respectively, has been touring the Middle East over the past few days. Despite meeting many officials in different countries, no official statements have been issued about outcomes as yet. Among the items for discussion have been the situation in the Gaza Strip and US efforts to end or, at least, reduce the humanitarian crisis there.
It is true that the humanitarian situation in the besieged territory has worsened in recent months, but the crisis has been ongoing for at least 12 years. It is illogical, therefore, to imagine the international community having a sudden awakening of its collective humanitarian conscience. However, the protests taking place in Gaza, and Israel’s murderous response, have brought the crisis back to the forefront; it would appear that “Gaza comes first”, at least in the media and the leaked news about the “deal of the century” and the plans to liquidate the Palestinian cause.
The Palestinians living in Gaza have been pushed to the limit over the past few months, in preparation for their subjugation. They can only think about survival and making a living, making it easier for them to be forced to surrender under enormous pressure. Gaza has always been hard for the Zionist decision-makers to deal with; so much so that some wish that it will be swallowed by the sea. Today it is wished that the issue will be swallowed gradually by the Egyptian Sinai, as per an old proposal made by Israeli Major General Giora Eiland, which talks about a “Palestinian state” stretching from the Gaza Strip to Sinai.
This proposal appears to be back on the agenda, with growing talk in Zionist circles about employing the humanitarian situation in Gaza as an entry point for its implementation, with a port and airport serving the Gaza Strip being built in Egypt’s North Sinai governorate. Investment and development projects will also be established, along with a free trade zone in the area. At the moment, parts of north Sinai are almost free of people after extensive operations by the Egyptian army in recent years in response to bomb attacks by groups which claim to be allied to Daesh.
The situation in Sinai is complicated, but there is also a great deal of Israeli interest in the area. Even if the people in Gaza saw projects in place to alleviate the suffering, though, can anyone guarantee their safety from such groups, or will this solution simply lead to new problems for the Palestinians? There is a lot of US pressure to end the remit of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which was established specifically to help “Palestine refugees”. This has led to a huge reduction in its work, with a resultant negative effect on all Palestinian refugees, but especially in the Gaza Strip, where more than half of the population are refugees.
In the past few days, the Israeli occupation authorities have issued Order 1798, which has not received much attention, despite the great danger behind it. It is a step on the road to displacing Palestinians from most parts of the occupied West Bank, which is far bigger than the Gaza Strip. In Jerusalem, the Israelis have been trying to impose their control over Bab Al-Rahma area in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque for the past few weeks, which is a major development towards the spatial and geographical division of the Holy Mosque.
It is clear that discussing the problems of Gaza and trying to develop interim solutions for them is inconsistent with the reduction of UNRWA’s operations; the large annexation and settlement projects in the West Bank; and the racist laws issued by Israel in recent months and weeks. It is a deceptive endeavour to propose any law that can be passed as part of the liquidation schemes in the rest of Palestine. As usual, they will rely on Gaza to save what can be saved nationally, although the plans target all Palestine and Palestinians. They also target Egypt and its sovereignty and the sanctities and creed of the entire Arab nation.
Translated from Alarab, 25 June 2018
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