Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gaza needs Political will and not just Aid

Politicians often like to relegate and label complex emergencies and conflicts to 'humanitarian crisis' the insinuation being that it requires a humanitarian fix. This is rarely if ever the case. Humanitarian aid can only ever address short term needs or contribute to longer term development and needs political will in the air if it is to have a chance of succeeding. Gaza is a case in point. This is a political crisis plain and simple that requires political action first and foremost. Humanitarian aid is a factor that needs to be added to the political solution it is not and never can be considered as the embodiment of the solution. If we hear commentators referring to Gaza as a humanitarian crisis 'only' then we can safely deduce that political responsibilities are being shirked. These sentiments are echoed quiet unambiguously in a from-the-hip commentary in today's Guaridan UK, penned by Nick Young, the CEO of the British Red Cross who has just returned from Gaza. Indeed, the International Committee of the Red Cross emphasized the same point in its public statement on Thursday. Both commentaries wrestle with the politics of aid while recognizing the necessity to remain focused on neutral and impartial action. Young puts it best when he says: Our mandate requires us to provide aid on the basis of need, and need alone, without recourse to ideology, politics or difference. But from political actors an honest and courageous peace process is required: to stop the destruction of thousands of civilian lives and to enable people to rebuild their communities and live with dignity. We will continue to fulfill our mandate. I urge the politicians and world leaders to fulfill theirs.


1 comment:

  1. An economist once said, if I'm remembering correctly, that every war is a trade war. The notion that Palestinians lack a political will underscores the complexity of the proxy (trade) war between the US, the EU, and Asia as played out by Israel and Palestine (may as well give a nod to conflicts in Afganistan, Iraq, Pakistan, India as well). US presence (and pressure) in the Middle East forces EU/Asia players for oil to bargain.

    Unfortunately many of the casualties of that trade war lay in the streets of Gaza waiting for "humanitarian aid" which is a kind of double bind: many of the humanitarians are also the aggressors. Such is the nature of war.