“A humanitarian crisis” is how the Arab League described Gaza as it was plunged into darkness when its only power plant was shut down three days after Israel ceased the delivery of fuel supplies to the trouble-plagued territory. Fuel supplies have now been resumed but continued supply is certain to be disrupted.
The fuel stoppage - which represents about 70% of Gaza’s oil supplies - came after Gaza had caused “a humanitarian crisis” in Israel by permitting the indiscriminate firing of 230 rockets and mortars into Israeli civilian population centers during the previous four days.
Such a heavy and incessant barrage - following years of similar action that has seen thousands of such rockets and mortars fired at and landing in Israel - was the final straw as Israel began what will inevitably become the total severing all contact with Gaza - already declared to be a hostile entity by Israel.
Fair warning of such action had been served over the past six months but was ignored by a mindless leadership and terrorist sub-culture that dominates everything that has been occurring in Gaza - not only in regard to Israel but also as concerns the Arab population of Gaza.
This has divided Gaza into two bitterly opposing camps with each trying to inflict the maximum damage on the other in a deathly power struggle that unfortunately cannot be as easily resolved as cutting off the fuel supplies.
Gaza is one big mess. Supposedly now ruled by the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas - it displays anything but “strength and bravery” - its English translation.
When Israel totally withdrew its army and evacuated all 8000 Israeli civilians living in Gaza in August 2005, hopes were high that Gaza would take responsible and reasoned steps in showing the world that its solely Arab population was capable and ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood and to live in peace with a Jewish Israel.
Events since then have seen Gaza slide into an abyss of hopelessness from which there seems no way out.
The opportunity afforded by Israel’s evacuation has now been thrown to the wind - blown away along with the countless opportunities that have arisen in the last 60 years that could have seen Gaza develop and emerge as part of a new Arab State between 1948-1967 by a simple declaration of statehood.
The Hamas Covenant adopted on 18 August 1988 tells why it cannot happen now or in the future if the present chaotic situation persists.
The preamble to the Covenant explicitly states:
“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious…The Movement [Hamas] is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.”
One such squadron - the 22 member Arab League - is indeed offering its support but in doing so is contributing to the continued destabilisation occurring in the region.
Instead of immediately sending fuel and food supplies by the truckload through Egypt to Gaza to relieve the crisis it claims was being suffered by its Arab brethren, the Arab League was apparently happy for that crisis to continue to worsen as it chose to play the political game - running off to the United Nations calling for it “to hold international investigations into the Israeli crimes.”
Resolutions or pious self serving declarations cannot end a humanitarian crisis. They will not turn on the lights or put food in the belly.
The Arab League should be counselling Hamas to show “strength and bravery” by abandoning its insane policy of trying to get rid of the Jews. This is a policy still shared with its rival seeking control in Gaza - the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
It is this policy which has and will continue to sow the seeds of suffering and despair for the ordinary Arab on the street who is powerless to do anything to end this mindless hatred of Jews.
That ordinary Arab must now be ruing the day he voted Hamas to power - even though the corrupt PLO alternative was little different in its attitude to Israel. He has helped create the political environment that now threatens his daily existence. He is not just an “innocent citizen” and totally without blame - as claimed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Arab League needs to wash its hands of Hamas and to show its complete repudiation of what Hamas supports and stands for. In failing to do so it has become an accessory to endorsing the Hamas Covenant and has aligned itself with a movement that declares in Article 13 of the Covenant:
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.”
Supporting this policy makes a mockery of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa’s current call on the countries that took part in the Annapolis conference to shoulder their responsibilities for Gaza and that the United States should be directly responsible for what was happening in Gaza.
The Arab League cannot have it both ways. It needs to choose between peaceful resolution or Jihad.
Intractability, duplicity and double dealing has marked the Arab League’s policies since its futile invasion of Palestine in 1948.
In dealing with Gaza it is displaying the same ineptitude that has marked its attitude and approach towards Israel at every critical stage over the last 60 years - when real opportunities for a negotiated settlement presented themselves only to be rejected each time by the Arab League imposing conditions that it knew could never be accepted by Israel.
The current support given to Hamas must end if there is ever to be any chance of Gaza emerging from the quicksand that is rapidly threatening to swallow it up.
One solution is to return Gaza to Egyptian control - a situation that existed between 1948-1967 - to end the rocket and mortar barrage and restore order and stability. Arab League support for such action could make it happen. Given its past performance the Arab League will do nothing -as usual.
Unless the Jew-hatred endemic in Gaza’s Government and its population is ended, Gaza is in for a tough time - and the Arab League will have to share the major responsibility for allowing a deteriorating situation to become far worse.