Charting a New Course: Overcoming the stalemate in Gaza

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In 2014, after unprecedented destruction and suffering in Gaza, international donors pledged $3.5bn and a change in approach. Six months later, reconstruction and recovery have barely begun, there has been no accountability for violations of international law, and Gaza remains cut off from the West Bank. This AIDA briefing paper outlines an achievable course of action to address the root causes of the recurrent conflict and put international engagement with Gaza back on the right course.
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  JOINT AGENCY BRIEFING PAPER 13 APRIL 2015 This report was initiated by members of the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA). Signatories to this report include AIDA members and members of other regional coordination networks. Suleiman built a small one- room shelter for his family using the rubble of his house, which was bombed in August 2014. „This was the only solution for us. Life is getting even more unbearable. We are hoping for one thing: reconstruction. But honestly, I don't know if I should keep hoping or not.‟ Photo: Anas al Baba/Oxfam CHARTING A NEW COURSE Overcoming the stalemate in Gaza In 2014, after unprecedented destruction and suffering in Gaza, international donors pledged $3.5bn and a change in approach. Six months later, reconstruction and recovery have barely begun, there has been no accountability for violations of international law, and Gaza remains cut off from the West Bank. This paper outlines an achievable course of action to address the root causes of the recurrent conflict and put international engagement with Gaza on the right course.  2 REPORT SIGNATORIES  ActionAid  Alianza por la Solidaridad  American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)  Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz (ACPP) CARE International The Carter Center CCFD-Terre Solidaire CCP Japan Christian Aid Church of Sweden Cooperazione per lo Sviluppodei Paesi Emergenti (COSPE) Council for Arab-British Understanding DanChurchAid (DCA) Diakonia GVC Handicap International Heinrich Böll Foundation HelpAge International Horyzon - Swiss Youth Development Organization Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) KinderUSA The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation The Lutheran World Federation Médecins du Monde France Médecins du Monde Switzerland Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP  –  UK) Medico international Medico international schweiz Medicos del Mundo MDM-Spain Mennonite Central Committee Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) Norwegian People‟s Aid (NPA)  Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Overseas Oxfam Première Urgence  –  Aide Médicale Internationale Quaker Council for European  Affairs Rebuilding Alliance Save the Children Secours Catholique - Caritas France Secours Islamique France Swedish Development Partner (SOIR) The Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief (IM) Terre des Hommes Foundation Terre des Hommes Italy United Civilians for Peace, Netherlands   3 SUMMARY Operation Protective Edge  –  the codename used by Israel for the 51 day military operation 1  and the associated conflict between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups  –  has inflicted unprecedented destruction and human suffering in Gaza. 2  This was the third such major military operation in six years, further complicating recovery for a civilian population sealed off by a blockade and separated economically, socially and politically from Palestinians in the West Bank. Shortly after Israel and Palestinian armed groups agreed to a temporary ceasefire, donors from around the world gathered in Cairo to pledge $3.5bn for the reconstruction of Gaza. Six months later, there has been no accountability to address violations of international law, only 26.8 percent of the money has been released, reconstruction and recovery have barely begun, and people in Gaza remain in dire straits. This paper outlines an achievable course of action that, if implemented, could make significant progress in addressing the root causes of the recurrent conflict and towards the realization of a just, durable peace that would benefit Israelis and Palestinians alike. By directly addressing the different actors that have distinct responsibilities towards Gaza  –  from Israel and the international community to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas  –  the signatories to this report outline what each party can and must do to end the conflict and ensure Palestinians in Gaza can realize their rights. It is time for these actors to work together effectively to change the course for Gaza before it is too late. The main recommendations of this report are: Ending the cycle of violence All parties  should immediately resume negotiations for a long-term ceasefire that addresses the need for sustainable reconstruction, tackles the root causes of the conflict and can deliver long-lasting security for both Israelis and Palestinians. Negotiations should include all concerned parties, particularly women, in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Both   the  Government of Israel and Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas,  must abide by international humanitarian and human rights law in the conduct of hostilities. The international community  must demand an end to violations of international law, and push for greater accountability of all parties, including guarantees of non-repetition. 3    4 Committing to principled assistance, reconstruction and recovery States should comply with their third state responsibilities not to aid or assist rights violations with respect to companies that contribute to such violations.   This should include, where appropriate, adopting clear guidance to national companies, including state-owned companies, and pension and investment funds, to ensure that they undertake adequate due diligence and to ensure they do not support companies whose actions support violations of international law. 4   Palestinian political actors  must prioritize reconstruction as a humanitarian imperative. International donors  should work with the Palestinian Government of National Consensus  to take a holistic approach to reconstruction in Gaza, initially through the development of ministerial action plans for early recovery efforts, adequate and sustainable housing, and large-scale infrastructure.  Egypt  should also fulfil its third state obligations under international humanitarian law to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance. 5   Donors  should make good on the pledges made at the Cairo Conference and move forward with reconstruction and recovery projects for Gaza. Given the devastation of the economy in Gaza, donor funding  should wholly subsidize construction materials, prioritizing the most vulnerable.  As an immediate measure, funding and technical support should be made available to enable people to buy the necessary materials and labour to complete housing repairs. Making the necessary shift: Ending the blockade and the separation between Gaza and the West Bank Israel  must lift the blockade and open all crossings into and out of Gaza; priority should be given for the unimpeded entry and exit of goods, as a necessary prerequisite to meet humanitarian needs and to ensure sustainable economic recovery and development. Israel  must allow free movement of Palestinians across the occupied Palestinian territory, in line with their obligations as an occupying power, with individual restrictions on movement placed only in exceptional cases of legitimate security concern, as defined by international humanitarian law. The international community,  in particular the Quartet of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN , should propose a time-bound plan to support an end to the blockade, which can be implemented and monitored through relevant UN mechanisms. The international community should promptly develop a common response to the government of Israel if immediate progress is not made to lift the blockade.
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