Averting another war in Gaza will take commitments from Israel and the international community to end its isolation and begin rebuilding – and from the Palestinian Authority to assert its leadership, former President Jimmy Carter says.
A 50-day war last summer killed some 2,200 people in Gaza – where Hamas militants are de facto rulers and led the fighting against Israel – and 73 in Israel.
In the end, Carter writes in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post,
posted online Friday night, "only a peace agreement that grants freedom to self-governed Palestinians can bring the security that both the Israeli and Palestinian people deserve."
"As long as Palestinians remain divided, it will be difficult for any leader to sell to the Palestinian people a peace agreement with Israel," he writes. "Absent such an agreement, lifting the closure and jump-starting Gaza’s reconstruction can do much to avert the next war."
The United States' 39th president laments that "none of the underlying causes" of the 2014 conflict has been addressed.
A $5.4 billion pledge for rebuilding fell apart because the Palestinian Authority "has proven unwilling or unable to govern in Gaza," he writes.
"The international community, including the Obama administration, should be given credit for recognizing the need to unify the Palestinian political system in order to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and stabilize the security situation," Carter writes.
But pressure should be put on Fatah, the Palestinian political party that began in 1965 as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, and Hamas to end Israel's closure of Gaza, Carter writes.
Short of that, Carter writes, "the international community must be willing to promote new arrangements for rebuilding Gaza and ending its isolation" – including coordinating donations directly with "de facto Hamas authorities."
Also, Israel "should align the import-export regime for Gaza with that of the West Bank, and Gaza crossing points should be reopened," he writes. "More generally, Israel should integrate the economy of Gaza with that of the West Bank to allow for more normal development."
Despite brokering a historic peace treaty between Israel and Egypt while serving as president, Carter has become critical of Israel
since leaving office.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.
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