Give Gaza hope

Give Gaza hope
Photo: DPA
The international community must help avert a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip, argues Wolfgang Gehrcke, the parliamentary foreign policy expert of German political party The Left.

Only those with a heart of stone would not be deeply disturbed by the current humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Political efforts must now concentrate on the suffering of the people there.

The population in Gaza is roughly as large as Hamburg’s, but the war has completely cut it off from the outside world. There is no way out. Bombs and rockets are raining down on people in refugee camps and towns. Attacks are coming from the heavens and from the sea, as tanks approach Gaza City. Doctors and nurses are unable to help – they don’t have bandages, medicine, food, or electricity. The people in Gaza are without hope.

We are witness to their deepest desperation. The least that could be done would be to silence the weapons for 24 or 48 hours to help. That wouldn’t be enough, but it would be an important signal for a political solution. The task of German and European policymakers must be to demand Israel agree to a ceasefire.

No-one has to decide between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The alternative isn’t Israel or Palestine – the alternative is war or the peace process. Israel needs security, but it won’t have it when it enflames the hatred of its neighbours. Palestinians must have democracy and their own nation, but they won’t get it by firing rockets. Such is the evidence of the past 40 years of conflict in the Middle East.

Until the international community can achieve a peaceful resolution, the situation in Gaza will require the help of everyone genuinely interested in showing good will towards all people.

Wolfgang Gehrcke is an member of the German parliament for Die Linke. Translation by The Local.