Sunday, December 27, 2009

One year on, we need progress in Gaza

The Observer, Sunday 27 December 2009

".....So what we have is an increasingly dangerous stasis in which all issues, save for the stop-start negotiations for prisoner exchange, are on hold. Palestinian national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, the West Bank and Gaza, has made little headway; Israeli-Palestinian talks are on hold; the economic stranglehold of Gaza goes on. All largely ignored by the international community.

The peril of this lack of movement has been starkly visible in the last week, as Israel yesterday shot dead six Palestinians in two separate incidents in the West Bank. What is required, if there is to be any movement, is an urgent new sense of commitment that must begin in Washington. But equally, there needs to be moves to relieve the plight of Gaza's 1.5 million residents.

They must be allowed access to markets so that they can rebuild, and at least makes some attempt towards lives of dignity. Moreover, stasis suits Hamas, its enemy a sense of opportunity and purpose among those it governs. It is not good enough for the world to ignore this problem while a new generation grows up frustrated and alienated in what is effectively an enormous prison. That is no solution, merely tragedy deferred. Violence will follow."

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