Xinhua (Analysis)
November 21, 2012 - 1:00am


 A group of Gaza teens had a painful feeling mixed with satisfaction, as they kept looking at the convoy of an Arab League (AL) delegation headed by chief Nabil al- Arabi entering Shiffa Hospital to visit those wounded in the seven- day Israeli aerial attack on the Gaza Strip.

The AL delegation, which included al-Arabi, 13 Arab foreign ministers as well as their Turkey counterpart, was touring in the biggest hospital in the coastal enclave, as ambulances were still bringing casualties.

Ten were killed and twenty wounded during the one-hour visit of the AL delegation to Gaza, while the group of teenagers, chanting anti-Israel slogans, got close to the cars of the convoy to make sure that al-Arabi and the other top diplomats are indeed in Gaza for a solidarity visit.

Over the past two years, Palestinians felt that their cause has retreated and was not on the world's agenda following the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Libya, EgyptYemen and Syria, which distracted much of the attention.

The despair of the Palestinians mounted as the Middle East peace process and direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remained stalled due to differences on the issue of settlement building on the Palestinian territories. Efforts to resume the peace talks had also been in vain.

The ongoing Israeli aerial operations on the Gaza Strip, which left at least 137 Palestinians dead as of Tuesday night, have managed to re-lead the Palestinian cause into the center of spotlight. However, the way ahead remains bumpy.

While the AL delegation was visiting at al-Dalou Family's house, which was bombarded on Sunday and left 11 people killed, al-Arabi said that "the problem in Gaza is not related to reaching a ceasefire agreement only; it is related to ending the Israeli occupation as soon as possible."

Also, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called for an immediate end of the Israeli operations.

However, a father, while struggling with tears as he stood near the body of his son who was killed in the latest round of Israeli strikes, said "delegations never bring us our sons back. We want deeds not words."

The strike on Gaza had pushed the Arabs, mainly the Egyptian mediators, to move rapidly to help reach a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel to avoid more fatalities and disasters in addition to the difficult situation that the costal enclave has been passing through.

Hani Habib, a Gaza-based political analyst, said that Cairo is considered as a major player in ending the war on Gaza, "not only because new Egypt has a direct influence on Hamas, but also because Egypt is a political partner to Israel that is able to put an end to the growing violence in the region."

The Palestinians are also looking forward to a more important Egyptian role, not only as a mediator. Talal Oukal, another Gaza- based political analyst, said that the strike on Gaza must urge the Arabs to reconsider and preview the Arab peace initiative of 2002.

"There is no doubt that the blood shedding in Gaza has pushed the Arabs, governments and nations to move and express more solidarity and support to the Gaza Strip," Oukal said, adding that "Let's wait and see what will be the consequences of this war."

The Palestinians still feel that the ongoing Arab efforts "are not enough," as Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya told the AL delegation that the movement is positively reacting to the efforts aiming at reaching a cease-fire once and forever "that protects our people from the Israeli aggression."

In return, Gaza Strip populations expressed concerns that enlarging the ties between Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip and the Arab world would delay ending the internal Palestinian division and achieving reconciliation with President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

However, Hamas officials have repeatedly announced that they are not looking for establishing an isolated Islamic state in the Gaza Strip, adding that the coastal enclave is part of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Palestinian officials said division would undermine the Palestinian cause.

Hamada Fara'na, a political analyst from the West Bank city of Ramallah, told Xinhua that the Palestinians' concerns that the Gaza Strip would only be the future independent Palestinian state "are increasing," adding "ending division and reconciling are the only solution to stop having this future plan."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017