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U.N.helpful in Gaza

By David Singer - posted Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The dust has settled temporarily in Gaza with at least one fact clearly established - a badly bloodied but unbowed or unrepentant Hamas still remains firmly entrenched in occupation and control of Gaza's civilian population.

Its estimated terrorist army of 20,000 fighters pledged to bring about the destruction of Israel has only been reduced by 500 at the most - perhaps only by as few as 48 if you want to believe Hamas.

While the Hamas arsenal of rockets and mortars may have been seriously depleted, the ingenuity and determination of its political leaders and backers virtually guarantees full re-supply within six months - no matter what steps are taken by the international community to try to stop the flow of weapons into Gaza.


Doubtless this success - and the hatred engendered by Israel's invasion - will encourage others in Gaza to join the ranks of this army that fights in mufti from houses, shelters, hospitals, schools and mosques using the civilian population as human shields.

The price paid by Gazans in deaths, injuries, and property losses for Hamas continuing its rocket barrage of Israeli civilian populations after the end of a six months ceasefire in December has been catastrophic.

The temporary ceasefire now prevailing - and the conditions demanded by Hamas for its continued operation - make it highly likely that hostilities will be soon resumed again rather than permanently suspended.

Rockets and mortars are still being fired into Israel from Gaza prompting short but effective incursions into Gaza by Israel but threatening the possibility of full scale warfare if they are continued.

Into this scene of chaos, and at a conference on Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Gaza held at Sharm El Sheikh on January 18, rides the United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon. His contribution at that conference is to tell those assembled:

As the Secretary-General for the United Nations I have a broad responsibility to take care of all humanitarian sufferings by the people in Gaza. I am going to dispatch early this week a humanitarian needs assessment team to Gaza, organised and led by the United Nations and together with the World Bank and other donor organisations, Within 10 days I think we will be able to make an assessment report and we will issue an urgent humanitarian flash appeal. Within three weeks, we will be able to present an assessment report on early recovery and essential repairs. I urge and certainly hope that the major donor countries will generously contribute to this appeal.

Why would the Secretary-General not be urging the conference attendees to consider offering Gazans permanent resettlement - or at least evacuation - until the political situation in Gaza is finally determined?

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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