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Gaza Reconstruction; Effort not Exhibition - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It seems that the issue of who will convene a Gaza reconstruction summit has become politicized for the sake of [political] exhibition. This is occurring in the same way as the frantic competition that we previously witnessed surrounding the convening of an Arab summit during the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and which divided Arab ranks more than it benefited the people of Gaza.

Today we are facing another exhibition battle, this time on the pretext of collecting aid for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. This [competition] will serve only to increase the suffering of the truly afflicted people in the Gaza Strip, while not [affecting] the Hamas movement that boasts that it was not adversely affected by the Gaza war, and which is meanwhile seizing international aid that is meant specifically for civilians.

The Egyptians have previously announced the convention of the Cairo International Conference for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip [to be held on 2 March]. This was confirmed by the Emir of Kuwait Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah during a speech to the Kuwait Economic Summit held last month, and which he chaired.

And then today we see the Iranians getting involved, and their Foreign Minster Manouchehr Mottaki said that Iran, along with Arab and Islamic countries, are also seeking to host a conference for donors for the sake of reconstructing the Gaza Strip.

However we have yet to see Tehran aid Gaza with one penny, but what we do see is Tehran’s affiliates in Lebanon calling for a portion of the Saudi donation to be bequeathed to them, despite the passage of more than two years since the Lebanese July War [2006], and Nasrallah’s speech about “pure” money!

This is not all, two days ago Turkey announced via the official Anatolia News Agency that Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim had expressed his desire to host an international Gaza reconstruction conference, and had requested that Turkey support this initiative.

Does the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the provision of assistance to those afflicted [there] necessitate all of these battles, political effort, and diplomatic travel in order to get all the donors to meet in one room? Whoever wants to donate money can do so without conferences and fanfare.

The Saudi King announced that he had donated one billion dollars during a speech in Kuwait, he did so without calling for a conference and did not reveal that he had done so [donated the money] during the Gulf Summit in Riyadh which took place only days before the Kuwait summit; rather he donated without media fanfare.

How unfortunate it is that we politically collapse in this way and what is clear is that nobody is taking into consideration the suffering of the people of Gaza. And it was even revealed that Hamas, who said that it was aiding those afflicted, had actually bought arms with the aid from the UN Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA] meant specifically for the people of Gaza.

And so we are facing two alternatives; either the new efforts by Iran and its bloc to hold a conference of donors is for purely propaganda purposes, or the real reasons is to ensure the aiding of Hamas, more than the aiding the people of Gaza.

Both of these alternatives give rise to resentment as the true victims are the people of Gaza, and they are sitting on the ruins of their homes that were destroyed by the brutal Israeli military machine which was provoked by the policies of the Hamas movement.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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