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September 24, 2017

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Desperate Gaza situation calls for vision, reconciliation

An urgent humanitarian crisis involving more than 1,000 dead, many more starving children, destroyed life savings and a lack of basic living amenities such as water and electricity are overwhelming the people of Gaza. Beyond this round of killings, there must be a serious and sustained effort to address the livelihood needs of the Gaza Strip. This includes making sure that prevention of a new round of hostilities 10 months, a year, two years from now is the highest strategic goal.

The fact that Gaza is inextricably linked in terms of its energy and food needs to the outside world should give Israel an incentive to provide a hopeful future. That provision must be linked to the imperative of Hamas and other militant groups disarming.

Israel, in turn, must fully support the livelihood process of the Gaza Strip, which it wisely handed back to Palestinians in 2005. Any endgame that involves the long-term resolution of the tension between Arab residents and Israel in the Gaza Strip will look beyond the "quiet for quiet" status quo — called such by an article that appeared in the New York Times by Jodi Rudoren, "Quest for Demilitarization is Seen as Getting Netanyahu Only So Far." Instead, "Reconstruction for demilitarization," is mentioned as a hopeful alternative.

A proactive peace-for-livelihood support strategy should be implemented as part of a determined effort to support the betterment of lives in Gaza. An incrementally accumulative reward program by the Israeli government to promote construction, the provision of electricity, urban planning and educational institutions could do much to foster the long-term prosperity of people living in Gaza. In this model, rewards would be released in exchange for set 'phases' of peaceful coexistence.

Furthermore, a lifting of overseas lanes should be granted so that Gazans are able to import and export food, energy supplies and construction material.

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