De gerenomeerde onafhankelijke denktank International Crisis Group legt de verantwoordelijkheid voor de bloedige en uitzichtloze oorlog in Gaza – m.i. terecht – collectief bij Hamas, Israel, de Palestijnse Autoriteit en de internationale gemeenschap. Op deze evaluatie volgen zinnige adviezen hoe de oorlog te beeindigen. Belangrijk hierbij voor de EU (en dus NL), is het advies dat de EU niet alleen weer de grensposten tussen Gaza en Egypte zou monitoren, maar ook die tussen Israel en Gaza. Het zou leerzaam zijn om te zien hoe Israel en Hamas op met name dit laatste voorstel reageren:
HET ZIJN DE ISRAELI’S DIE ALTIJD HET INTERNATIONALISEREN VAN DE OPLOSSING VAN HET CONFLICT FRUSTREREN.
..Washingtons unhelpful and perilous efforts to slow things down notwithstanding, the most urgent task must be stopping the fighting; already, the absence of effective mediation has contributed to the climb from unreliable ceasefire to long-range rocket fire and massive aerial bombardment to ground offensive. To protect civilians, limit political damage (regional polarisation and radicalisation, further discrediting of any moderates or peace process) and avoid a further catastrophe (massive loss of life in urban warfare in Gaza, a Hamas rocket hit on a vital Israeli installation), third parties should pressure both sides to immediately halt military action. In short, what is required is a Lebanon-type diplomatic outcome but without the Lebanon-type prolonged timetable.
To be sustainable, cessation of hostilities must be directly followed by steps addressing both sides core concerns:
* an indefinite ceasefire pursuant to which:
– Hamas would halt all rocket launches, keep armed militants at 500 metres from Israels border and make other armed organisations comply; and
– Israel would halt all military attacks on and withdraw all troops from Gaza; real efforts to end arms smuggling into Gaza, led by Egypt in coordination with regional and international actors;
– dispatch of a multinational monitoring presence to verify adherence to the ceasefire, serve as liaison between the two sides and defuse potential crises; countries like France, Turkey and Qatar, as well as organisations such as the UN, could play an important part in this; and
– opening of Gazas crossings with Israel and Egypt, together with: return of an EU presence at the Rafah crossing and its extension to Gazas crossings with Israel; and
– coordination between Hamas authorities and the (Ramallah-based) PA at the crossings.
That last point Hamass role is, of course, the rub, the unresolved dilemma that largely explains why the tragedy unfolded as it did.
Gazas two-year story has been one of collective failure: by Hamas, which missed the opportunity to act as a responsible political actor; of Israel, which stuck to a shortsighted policy of isolating Gaza and seeking to undermine Hamas that neither helped it nor hurt them; of the PA leadership, which refused to accept the consequences of the Islamists electoral victory, sought to undo it and ended up looking like the leader of one segment of the Palestinian community against the other; and of the international community, many regional actors included, which demanded Hamas turn from militant to political organisation without giving it sufficient incentives to do so and only recognised the utility of Palestinian unity after spending years obstructing it.
This should change. Sustainable calm can be achieved neither by ignoring Hamas and its constituents nor by harbouring the illusion that, pummelled into submission, it will accept what it heretofore has rejected. Palestinian reconciliation is a priority, more urgent but also harder than ever before; so, too, is the Islamists acceptance of basic international obligations. In the meantime, Hamas if Israel does not take the perilous step of toppling it will have to play a political and security role in Gaza and at the crossings. This might mean a victory for Hamas, but that is the inevitable cost for a wrongheaded embargo, and by helping end rocket fire and producing a more stable border regime, it would just as importantly be a victory for Israel and, crucially, both peoples as well.
..The Palestinians have been trying to internationalise their conflict with the Israelis ever since Yasser Arafat pleaded for UN forces to protect the Palestinians after the failure of the Oslo agreement.
Always the Israelis have refused. The very odd observer force which the EU installed in Hebron after Baruch Golstein had massacred Palestinians at the mosque its patrols regularly interrupted by the Jewish settlers of this very odd city simply faded away. And the United Nations Relief and Works Agency has been throwing tents and food and school classes at the slums of Palestinian refugee camps for generations. Can it be that yet another Israeli failure in Gaza will change the dynamics of peacekeeping in the Middle East, that at last the ghost of Arafat will watch the internationalisation of the Israeli-Palestinian war?..
Bring In the Peacekeepers? (By Robert Fisk in The Independent & truthdig) Ondertussen blijft een vitale vraag:
Wil Israel, via Gaza, oorlog met Hezbollah en Iran uitlokken?