The complete idiot’s guide to Mideast peace – part 254
Open-ended Gaza truce puts off tough issues | The Times of Israel ‘ Hamas declares victory, celebrations erupt in Strip; Israel hopes truce sticks this time; Israel and Egypt still to control borders’
Well, will this new truce really stick? The resentment, pain, fear and, above all, the blame still remain unresolved. And Israel seems to be very much in the frame regarding whatever liability attaches to this latest flare-up. Hamas and others deemed allied to the Gazan leadership are due much condemnation but Israel would seem to be burdened with the lion’s share.
Arguing the case for and against both sides has been vigorous and ongoing. But, overall, the plight of the populace in Gaza has tended to trump that of the Israeli contingent. The graphic images of destroyed homes and buildings, taken together with the inevitable death toll that must accompany such colossal damage, has placed Israel firmly in the dock as far as world opinion is concerned.
What then is Israel to do?
Unilaterally withdraw from the conflict? This will be difficult and, without a long term quid pro quo, not likely to be supported by rank and file members of the community. Or the cabinet. Or the Knesset.
Continue to destroy large swathes of Gaza and resume the killing of Hamas leaders? Even greater opprobrium in the minds of all observers would then be created. Many of these are already convinced that Israel has, by far, the major slice of responsibility in this matter.
Seek a binding ceasefire, truce, hiatus, hudna or other such accommodation? In this way, hostilities can be suspended for a time, long enough for tempers to cool and stock to be taken of the new situation. Which, unfortunately, will be virtually identical to the old one.
Well, not much in the way of choices there. None will have any positive or lasting value; they all serve merely to promote the status quo and that can hardly be a matter for wild celebration.
The only way out of all this is to raise the stakes to such a high level that everyone will just throw in their hand, get up and walk away from the table to see if any other games can be played. And there will be some.
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