Radical solution is needed to end violence in Gaza

The Israel-Hamas conflict is in danger of undermining much of what the Arab world has gained over the past two years. Unless there is a radical solution, the fighting will continue in a never ending circle for years to come

Photo credit: andlun1 via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo credit: andlun1 via Flickr Creative Commons

Two years ago the Arab world came through one of the most turbulent periods in its undeniably troubled history with a new air of positivity and progression.

The spring of 2010 prompted the world to reassess the way the Middle East should be handled and many believed this would be a turning point in the way the world operated.

However, whilst the Middle East is a much changed animal, the scenario in Gaza looks much the same. The conflict is in danger of undermining much of what the Arab world has gained over the past two years. Unless there is a radical solution, the fighting between Israel and Hamas will continue in a never ending circle for years to come.

Many thought that with the liberation of countries across the region, either the Arab world would enjoy a renaissance culminating in freedom for Palestine, or on the flip side a crumbling of Israel’s important hold of power. Ultimately neither scenario has transpired.

In the last few hours it has emerged that Egypt has attempted to organise a ceasefire that will be implemented from midnight local time if agreed. This is an important, but ultimately fruitless move. It does show that both sides are hurting; too many lives have been lost on either side.

However, like in Libya, there is a strong possibly that this ceasefire is merely a short break for both sides to catch their breath before the inevitable resumption of attacks.

We are hearing mixed messages from both sides of the war. Israel has assured the world that they are only targeting military bases and there are reports that they have advised residents to leave the areas they plan on targeting. Hamas, on the other hand, are adamant that Israel is targeting areas within Gaza quite arbitrarily.

Hamas has the backing of many of the Arab governments, including Egypt who, like on all other occasions when fighting has increased, has sent a token representative to stand by the Palestinians for a photo opportunity. It is now in Israel’s interests to find a long term solution to this conflict. After the Arab spring, they are in real danger of losing any friends they have left in the region if they continue the ‘bombardment’ of Gaza.

On the flip-side however, Israel has powerful western allies, namely the US. Hamas would be wise to ease up on their regular rocket fire if they wish to improve their image in the West, many of whom still officially regard Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

In the longer term then, what can we expect? Unless a solution is found the conflict will carry on. A ceasefire will be beneficial for both sides to stop and see where they both want the situation to progress in the coming months.

However whilst a ceasefire is necessary to ensure that innocent lives remain intact, governments around the world need to work with both Israel and Hamas to work out a conclusion to the conflict, even if it is not wholly satisfactory for both sides. Until this happens, a mere ceasefire will not be enough to secure the safety of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

2 comments

  1. You call for negotiation with Hamas – that has been tried so many times before with no success.

    How can a compromise possibly be reached with a group whose stated aim is to continue to kill and terrorise civilians until all Jews are gone from the Middle East?

    Israel is already acting with great restraint in defending itself against an unbearable provocation and should be commended, not condemned, for that.

    I don’t agree with everything that Bibi stands for but he had it exactly right when he said that “The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.”

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  2. To the above comment, ‘Tim’. Similar rhetoric has been coming from Israel about sending Gaza ‘back to the middle ages’, and about a potential holocaust of Palestinians, so I don’t think you can juxtapose the aims of Netanyahu to those of Hamas in the way you do.

    Also you talk about Israel acting with ‘restraint’; do you honestly believe the killing of 158 Palestinian civilians constitutes ‘restraint’? Likewise, you say Israel has the right to defend itself, but what of the right of Palestinians to defend themselves against a vastly superior military power? What makes Israel’s unmitigated acts of violence legitimate, and Hamas’s terroristic? It’s worth pointing out that nearly 3000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli since 2006, and just 47 Israelis by Palestinian fire.

    In regard to your last point, the ceasefire was originally broken by the Israelis with an assassination (note its not called a terrorist attack, surprisingly) on Ahmed al-Jabari, a Hamas military commander, so you can’t place the blame so simplistically on Hamas.

    And on the actual article, I would have liked to have heard a bit more about what potential diplomatic solutions exist, rather than an ‘we’re doomed’ conclusion.

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