An international conference in Egypt on Monday resulted in $4.48 billion (€3.5 billion) in new pledges to help rebuild the Gaza Strip and fund the Palestinian government. The donors who gathered in the resort of Sharm el-Sheik gave a powerful boost to the moderate Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas while seeking to isolate the militant Hamas movement, which controls Gaza.That would be our money, the various taxpayers of the Western world because we strongly suspect that most of the funds will be coming from the United States, the EU and the separate European countries.
More money to go on rockets that can be fired into Israel and on vicious propaganda that turns children into psychopaths. Woops, no, the money is to go to Fatah the "moderate" wing of the Palestinian polity and to bypass Hamas. Exactly how is that going to be achieved?
Fatah has no control over Gaza and its supporters are routinely arrested, beaten up, tortured and murdered by Hamas, as even Amnesty International has acknowledged. Were we not told that the aid sent into Gaza a while ago was not going to go to Hamas but the people of Gaza? Well, Hamas simply helped themselves to the food and the blankets.
As it happens, Egypt, where the conference took place, is very carefully keeping its borders with Gaza closed as well and controls very tightly what goes in and what comes out of that unfortunate area. Even the reporter of Der Spiegel wonders how the reconstruction of Gaza can begin in those circumstances (not to mention the fact that the truth of what has really happened there during the Israeli attack has not been clearly spelled out with Hamas doing its best to obfuscate the situation).
Some German journalists are saying that it is impossible to reconstruct anything or create a lasting solution without Hamas. Even they are not convinced, as it is reasonably clear that there can be no lasting solution with Hamas. They are not interested in any solutions short of Israel's destruction that, even if they can achieve it, will not exactly produce peace and prosperity for the Palestinians. After all, Israel's withdrawal from Gaza produced nothing except a base from which endless rockets could be fired into that country.
Rockets are being fired now and there is some speculation that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton intend to signal to Israel that it would be best if they did not attack Gaza again, no matter what sort of shelling they have to put up with. Otherwise, there will be angry donor nations to face up to who will not like to see the destruction of what their aid has created.
That sounds like a departure from the usual pattern. In the first place, a good deal of the aid, namely from the Arab countries will never get there; in the second place, much of what does get there will be stolen; in the third place, any reconstruction will get bogged down in corruption, inefficiency and a civil war. And the rockets will go on being fired.
By the time the Israelis once again decide that enough is enough either there would have been a change in the Administration or, at least, a new Secretary of State or the present incumbents will have learnt the lesson every American government has to learn over and over again: Hamas does not want peace and will work very hard to make sure that there is none. Meanwhile, we all carry on paying for this lunacy.