Israel’s war in Gaza, now in its seventh week. But the coffee-break chatter that followed was scathing. More than once Mr McGurk said that Gaza would receive a “massive surge of humanitarian relief" only once Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, released the roughly 240 Israeli and foreign hostages it abducted on October 7th.
The humanitarian crisis afflicting Gaza’s 2.2m people is stark. Food, clean water and medicine are scarce and patients are dying in hospitals that have run out of fuel. The southern half of the enclave is bursting at the seams, swollen to twice its pre-war population after an influx of displaced Palestinians, while the north is probably uninhabitable for years.
But America’s envoy to the region seemed unmoved. “The onus here is on Hamas. This is the path," he said.
The idea that help for Gazan civilians was contingent on a hostage deal did not go over well with a heavily Arab audience. “They’ve taken the whole population hostage," said one attendee (the White House later said Mr McGurk’s remarks were “grossly misinterpreted"). That was not the only point of contention.
After two days of talking to officials about the plan for post-war Gaza, the inescapable conclusion is that there is no plan. The shattered enclave will need external help to provide security, reconstruction and basic services. But no one—not Israel, not America, not Arab states or Palestinian leaders—wants to take responsibility for it.
America hopes that Arab states will contribute troops to a post-war peacekeeping force, a proposal that is also backed by some Israeli officials. But the idea has not found much support among Arabs themselves. Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, seemed to rule it out altogether at the conference.. Read more on livemint.com