The Gaza of today does not resemble the Gaza of before this latest war, and nor should it. Now is a time for reflection and for some hard decisions. Otherwise Israel will continue to find excuses to start a new bombardment of the enclave every couple of years.
The material damage to Gaza has been massive, but it is matched by the psychological damage done to the coastal territory’s residents. Any achievements that some say have been won by Hamas and others in Gaza must be measured against the cost at which these so-called achievements came – that cost is in blood, and should not go in vain.
What this offensive showed was that Gaza was utterly alone, despite the statements of support from countries across the region and the world, statements that were not followed up with any tangible support or meaningful moves against Israel.
Gaza, therefore, must be prepared to look after itself, and the best way to achieve this is through unity – unity within Gaza, between Hamas and Islamic Jihad and others, and also unity between those groups and Fatah in the West Bank and also the diaspora.
This unity is what terrifies Israel, and it is this unity which is the only way the ultimate goal of Palestinian statehood will ever be achieved. The aftermath of the war has not been easy on Israel either – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing unusual criticism, from various sides, and the economy is suffering. This instability should be taken advantage of by the Palestinians.
The ground war may be over, but it will continue now on a diplomatic level. And the virtues shown during war time, of patience and of steadfastness, should be demonstrated now by the Palestinians in any moments of diplomacy.