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Reconstructing Gaza: The International Community’s Cycle of Impotence

If ever there was an example of the lethal, recurring consequences of the self-proclaimed “international community’s” inanity and impotence, it is their recurrent bouts of vows to reconstruct Gaza.

In their own version of the movie Groundhog Day (sans happy ending), the United Nations, the Biden administration, and other largely western nations have plans for rebuilding and revitalizing post-war Gaza. (Proximity to the Hamas terrorists makes neighboring Arab nations far more pragmatic in their planning.) The international community’s plans—much of them taxpayer subsidized—are expansive, expensive, and will ensure perpetuation of the Hamas terrorists’ cycle of violence against Israel.

And, tragically, this will happen regardless of whether the international community delivers on their promises.

To begin, the tragic recap:

Hamas launches a terrorist attack against Israel and murders, rapes, tortures, and kidnaps civilians;

Hamas holds the kidnapped civilians as an insurance policy and human shields against Israeli retaliation;

Hamas further uses Gaza’s civilians and critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, as human shields;

Hamas directs a propaganda operation through its supporters in the west, including leftists on college campuses, and in various international institutions demand a cease-fire to insulate Hamas against the consequences for their terrorism—as well as the large swath of the Gaza population that approves of their terrorist attack against Israeli civilians;

The international community rebuilds and revitalizes Gaza and insulates and rewards Hamas for its terrorist attack;

And reinforces among the Gaza population that they are correct in supporting Hamas’ hatred, terrorism, and genocidal aims, which are deemed justified, indoctrinated and celebrated throughout successive generations.

Rebuild, revitalize, repeat…

Now, take, for instance, this assessment by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as reported in February by Reuters:

Speaking on the sidelines of a U.N. meeting in Geneva, Richard Kozul-Wright, a director at trade body UNCTAD, said the damage was already four times that endured in Gaza during the seven-week war in 2014.

“We are talking about around $20 billion if it stops now,” he said… The reconstruction will require a new “Marshall Plan,” he said, referring to the U.S. plan for Europe’s economic recovery after World War Two.

In light of the above recap of Hamas’ cycle of terrorist violence, one could be tempted to think refusing to rebuild and revitalize Gaza would compel its civilian population to reassess their support for and abetting of Hamas. Yet, this is not an option. Withholding post-war aid will give apparent credence to the propaganda and fuel the recruitment efforts of more terrorists by Hamas and other enemies of the United States and Israel.

Exacerbating the situation, the people of Gaza have learned to be deeply skeptical of the international community’s promises of aid and their subsequent failure to deliver. In consequence, even if the international community eventually honors its bruited commitment of reconstruction aid, it will likely be viewed as just a down payment on their fully honoring all their past commitments, if not viewed as the people of Gaza as merely a case of “too little, too late.” Obviously, just as the international community fully footing the bill for reconstructing Gaza will send the wrong message to Hamas and its abettors, not reconstructing or underdelivering will also send an equally unhelpful message.

Writing at the Arab Center in Washington DC in June 2021, Yara M. Asi assessed the international community’s past rebuilding promises and what they produced in her piece, “Rebuilding Gaza, Yet Again.” In discussing the aftermath of 2014 Israeli War in Gaza, it is instructive to consider the harm done by the international community’s overpromising and underdelivering.

First, the overpromising:

The 2014 war was utterly catastrophic, and the response for aid seemed to match the urgency. At a conference in Cairo months later, donors pledged $3.5 billion to rebuild Gaza over three years. Top pledges came from the United States ($277 million), the European Union ($348 million), Saudi Arabia ($500 million), and Qatar ($1 billion). Overall, donors pledged $5.4 billion….

Next, the underdelivering:

While the pledges were generous, the deliverables were meager. Months after the conference, less than 2 percent of the money had been transferred to the Palestinians. The Gulf states, which made the highest pledges, had the biggest shortfalls; by 2018, almost all the unfulfilled pledges were by these Arab states. Thus, much of what was destroyed in 2014 – and 2012, and 2008-2009 – remained destroyed at the onset of this latest bombing campaign in 2021.

The end result:

Donors may have even been reluctant to donate funds to rebuild infrastructure that was likely to be damaged again. At the Gaza conference, then-US Secretary of State John Kerry noted, ‘This is the third time in less than six years that together with the people of Gaza, we have been forced to confront a reconstruction effort.’ [Italics, mine.]

Mr. Kerry said this in 2014.

Many have thought that the path to a just and lasting peace for Gaza must begin with its civilian population renouncing terrorism; and, in addition to the obvious benefits of peace, a grateful international community would reward the people of Gaza with billions upon billions of dollars in economic assistance.

Yet, because the international community has overpromised and underperformed time and time again, the people of Gaza are not going to invite a bullet from Hamas by renouncing them in return for the fool’s gold of international aid.

Thus, Israel, Gaza, and the world confront the deadliest catch of all, the Catch-22 of the international community’s latest plans to reconstruct and revitalize Gaza: The peoples of Israel and Gaza will be damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and damned if you do it half-assed.

Given the international community, smart money is on half-assed.

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) served Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Radio Show,” among sundry media appearances.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: RAFAH, GAZA - MAY 03: Palestinians, including children, collect remaining belongings from the rubble of destroyed houses after Israeli attacks on the house belonging to the Shaheen family as Israeli attacks continue on Gaza Strip on May 3, 2024 in Rafah, Gaza. As a result of the attack, the Shaheen family's house and the surrounding houses were damaged. It was reported that there were dead and injured people in the attack. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)