What Gaza really needs is for Israel to recognize the humanity of its occupants

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A boy scavenging bicycle parts in Gaza. (photo: Getty Images)

Israel and its supporters must separate the civilians from Hamas militants and stop the collective punishment.

By Mohammed Shehada | Forward | Mar 13, 2018


Whether you call it a crisis or call it a passing distress, names are irrelevant when you try to describe the impossibility of life in Gaza that no man could endure yet no man can escape.


On March 13, Jared Kushner and Jason D. Greenblatt held a White House summit on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza with leaders from Israel, several Arab nations and Western countries — but there were no leaders from either the Palestinian Authority or Gaza in attendance.

“We all know that none of this will be easy,” Greenblatt reminded those gathered at the summit. “Everything we do must be done in a way that ensures we do not put the security of Israelis and Egyptians at risk — and that we do not inadvertently empower Hamas, which bears responsibility for Gaza’s suffering. But the situation today in Gaza is unacceptable, and spiraling downwards.”

Any plan for Gaza would be better than the status quo. But if the summit is to accomplish anything, it must acknowledge three hard truths: Life in Gaza is unbearable. Unbearable suffering is fueling Hamas’s continued reign of terror. And the only way to free Gazans from their unbearable suffering is to acknowledge Israel’s role in it.

Most crucially, Israel must begin to distinguish militants from civilians.

Up until now, none of these imperatives is being followed. In a recent statement to his party Yisrael Beiteinu, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed that, “The economic state [in Gaza] is complicated and must be dealt with, but there’s no humanitarian crisis.”

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