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First things first

Mar 14,2018 - Last updated at Mar 14,2018

The Palestinian Authority (PA) was right and wrong in turning down a US invitation to take part in the meeting for "stakeholders" on Gaza and its dire living conditions.

The Palestinian side insisted that the crisis in Gaza is first and foremost political and not humanitarian. This is true, since Israel's blockade of Gaza has brought about the problem and contributed to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza now in the making for many years and ever since Hamas won the election in the Palestinian territory.

On the other hand, the fact that the crisis in Gaza is basically political should not preclude the consideration of its humanitarian dimension as a matter of great urgency. The affected Palestinian people need food, clean water, medicine and other basic essentials for survival. This cannot wait until the political side of the conflict is first settled. There are basic rights that must be fulfilled without having the political aspects resolved first.

What the PA should have done is attend the US-sponsored meeting and then raise the political side of the equation as a matter of high priority. Boycotting the meeting just because the US has convened it or just because its agenda is strictly about the humanitarian situation in Gaza was not the right thing to do.

It is too late now to correct this error of judgement but it is never too late to take part in any similar endeavours in the future. Dealing with the political conflict in Gaza is going to take much time.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian people cannot wait till then to feed themselves and provide the basic necessities of life for themselves. There is such a thing as first things first and the Gaza people, food, water and medicine come first.

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