Alan Stein

Israel should embrace UNGA ceasefire resolution…in a bear hug

The ceasefire resolution overwhelmingly passed by the United Nations Security Council on December 12, entitled “Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations,” was drawn up with the intention of pressuring Israel into a ceasefire allowing Hamas to rearm so it could carry through with its avowed intention of repeating its atrocities of 10/7.

It was adopted at a meeting of the “Tenth Emergency Special Session” of the United Nations General Assembly, a session which began in April 1997 and is reconvened whenever enough members decide they haven’t been sufficiently demonizing Israel. The session is named “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The very name is a perversion, given it’s not about supposedly “illegal Israeli actions,” the portion of Israel’s capital that had been occupied by Jordan from 1948-1967 is not “occupied,” there is no “Palestinian Territory” in the sense of territory that legally belongs to the Palestinian Arabs, merely an area that has at times been referred to as Palestine and which includes not just Israel, Gaza and the disputed portions of Judea and Samaria, but also Jordan and parts of Lebanon and Syria, and none of it is “occupied” according to international law.

The list of sponsors is also perverse, given that one entry on the list doesn’t even exist: the “State of Palestine.” Even the lifelong terrorist and Holocaust denier who is introduced as the “President of the State of Palestine” when he addresses the United Nations tacitly admits to that every time he refers to what the future Palestinian state will be like.

Despite the intent of the resolution and the refusal to even mention Hamas, no less criticize its barbaric atrocities, the resolution can be turned into an unforced error on the part of Israel’s enemies if Israel embraces it in a bear hug and publicly agrees to adhere to its provisions if the terror groups in Gaza also adhere to all its provision in a way that allows Israel to be confident they will continue to adhere to all the provisions.

Here’s why.

The resolution includes three demands. Almost all the attention has been paid to the first demand, an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. Little attention has been paid to the other two demands. It would be a big win for Israel if they were adhered to.

Let’s take them in reverse order.

The third is a demand for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access.”

If this was adhered to, Israel would get all the hostages back immediately and unconditionally. The resolution doesn’t distinguish between the hostages the terrorists kidnapped on 10/7 and those they have held for many years, so Avraham Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul would have to be released. Since Israel doesn’t hold any hostages, this provision only applies to the terror groups. No terrorists would be released to terrorize and murder again. The wording seems somewhat strange, given that there would be no need for humanitarian access if they were released immediately. But in case it wasn’t feasible to release them all at the same time, this would provide for Red Cross access to immediately deal with health issues if the release took a few days.

The second reiterates the demand “that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians.”

This also would only affect the actions of the terrorists in Gaza, since Israel complies with international law anyway. It entails an end to terror attacks, including rocket attacks. It also entails no more using civilians as human shields and no more attacks from civilian areas, since both endanger civilians.

The only way to be relatively confident the terror groups would continue to adhere to those provisions would be for them to cooperate with the removal and destruction of their entire arsenal of rockets and the destruction of its terror tunnel network, since the former have no purpose other than to terrorize and murder civilians and the latter endanger civilians since they exist in civilian areas. These necessary components could be implemented by having the IDF systematically go through small areas in Gaza, sanitizing each area. Once a area has been sanitized, civilians could return and have their needs attended to by international agencies as their lives are normalized, with inspections to make sure no weapons were reintroduced.

Put it all together, and assurance of complete adherence to the UNGA’s ceasefire resolution would fulfill all of Israel’s war aims other than making all the perpetrators pay a price, and Israel could still go after them if they left Gaza.

If the terror groups agree, it’s a win for Israel and life can slowly return in the Gaza envelope.

If the terror groups refuse to agree, they will undeniably be to blame for whatever happens to the people living in Gaza.

Good enough reason for Israel’s government to embrace the ceasefire resolution in a bear hug.

About the Author
Alan Stein is a retired mathematician (Ph.D. Courant Institute) and college professor (University of Connecticut) who was long active in Jewish communal affairs in the United States before deciding after retirment to spend winters in Israel, making aliyah with his wife in 2014 and splitting his time between Netanya and Natick, Massachusetts. He was CAMERA's Letter Writer of the Year in 2015 and enjoys playing tennis, bike riding, swimming, playing with computers and shopping at the shuk in Netanya.
Related Topics
Related Posts