The second intifâda is unique in that debates all seem to focus on the relationship between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israeli authorities. The international community focuses on suicide attacks on Israeli territory and the heavily militarized Israeli response to these attacks. The Palestinian people are largely absent from debates in the media: the media only highlights political groups such as the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsâ Brigades and the Fath. What about the voluntary sector in Palestine?
In this article, Jean-Marc Biquet discusses the use of humanitarian action as a justification for military intervention. He stresses the incompatibility of mandates between humanitarians and military, as well as the inability of humanitarian aid to distinguish between "good" and "bad" victims..
As part of the preparations for the war in Iraq, a "humanitarian component" is currently being organized by the U.S. government and the military. In this article, Jean-Marc Biquet expresses his concern over the military following humanitarians once again during an armed intervention. According to him, humanitarian action must not have a "hidden agenda", but must remain a process in itself, with the sole objective of alleviating the suffering of populations. Today, however, this action is increasingly subject to the political objectives of certain governments.
After restating the definition, purpose, and role of humanitarian assistance, the author emphasizes the dangers that misuse for political considerations represents for the image of humanitarian action. While recognizing that technical expertise is important for effective provision of aid, the author stresses that humanitarianism requires more than technology. He also warns that collecting the funds necessary for relief operations must not lead to commercial-style marketing of humanitarian assistance.