Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal holds a press conference in the Qatari capital Doha on July 23, rejecting a cease-fire in the Gaza battles..
(photo credit: AFP)
Any international conference to aid Gaza in reconstruction will fail as long as Hamas continues to monopolize power in the Strip, the deputy editor in chief of the London-based Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat said in an op-ed on Wednesday.
“Today there is talk of an international conference on the reconstruction of Gaza. But the political picture remains unclear,” Ali Ibrahim asserted in the Saudi-backed newspaper.
“As long as Hamas insists on controlling the Gaza Strip and continues to prevent the PA and the national unity government from exercising their duties, there will be neither funds nor investment.”
In its criticism of Hamas, the article titled “No Winners in Gaza,” undercuts the terrorist group’s claim of victory against Israel in the summer war.
“It seems that Arabs’ habit of claiming disasters as victories is still alive and kicking,” Ibrahim writes, mocking Hamas and its regional supporters. “The horrific footage of destruction coming out of Gaza City reflects the disastrous situation on the ground, while Hamas leaders roam its ruined streets talking about their victory.”
Egypt will host a donors conference on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in Cairo on October 12, the Egyptian foreign minister said Tuesday. Egypt destroyed many of the tunnels that connected the country to Gaza and allied itself with conservative powers in the region such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan – against radical revolutionary forces that wish to topple the established order.
The announcement of the international conference to be chaired by Egypt and Norway was carried on Egypt’s state news agency after Norway’s foreign minister held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Rebuilding Gaza will cost $7.8 billion, the Palestinian Authority said this month, in the most comprehensive assessment yet of the damage from the seven-week war with Israel.
“Admitting one’s defeat or mistakes, no matter how bitter they are, is the way forward,” Ibrahim said, pointing out that Hamas’s attempts to spread the war to the West Bank failed.
“On the other hand,” he added, “the Palestinian issue enjoys a special status in all Arab countries. The real question is: How long will this cause remain a political football in other struggles, with some Palestinian factions serving as tools for others?” Meanwhile, he did not spare Israel from criticism, noting that “the international community condemned Israel’s policy of collective punishment and its use of disproportionate power.”
According to Ibrahim, for a peace agreement to come about on the Palestinian issue, “The PA must return to Gaza and a responsible political leadership must be created, one that takes the people’s needs into account, is able to impose its control on the ground, and is able to sign international agreements.”
“Other than that, there can be no way of making this a reality,” he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.