A CHILL EScalates into a potentially region-devastating conflict

Body of an ‘Israeli sympathizer’ dragged through the streets of Gaza (sfgate.com)

After a brutal weeklong conflict, Hamas and Israeli officials engaged in talks today (Tuesday 11/20/12) with Egyptian officials acting as intermediaries. A cease-fire has yet to be finalized, and the threat of an Israeli ground invasion still looms, but a senior Hamas official said that a truce agreement is within reach, and most likely would transpire by the end of tonight. President Obama dispatched Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to the Middle East today to ask for an immediate cease-fire.

The major goal of intervening diplomacy here is to stop this conflict before even more escalation. A ground invasion could cause intensification that would put the entire region at risk. Today, Clinton will meet first with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, then with senior officials of the Palestinian government in the West Bank, and then she will head to Cairo to meet with Egyptian leaders. Clinton will not be meeting with any Hamas leaders, for we consider them a terrorist organization. Obama blames Hamas for the latest eruption of violence, and feels that Israel had the right to defend itself after Hamas killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide and other attacks.

On the other side of the spectrum, the families of victims of the Israeli airstrikes have a different message for the international community. “We want to tell the world which is supporting the state of Israel, what this state is doing. They are supporting a state that kills children… We want to send a message to the U.N. and the West: Enough of supporting Zionists, who are killing children.”

Three Israelis have also been killed in this conflict, and more than 1,000 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza, including three that struck Israeli schools that had fortunately been emptied as a precaution.

Along with Clinton, the UN chief, Germany’s foreign minister, Turkey’s foreign minister, and a delegation of Arab League foreign ministers were to visit with the major officials involved in the conflict today. Israel demands that all rocket fire from Gaza be halted and that there be no more smuggling of weapons into Gaza through tunnels under the border with Egypt. Hamas wants Israel to halt all attacks on Gaza and lift restriction on trade and movement in and out of the territory.

All of this diplomatic intervention is occurring today. The UN and the United States have representatives in the Middle East trying to put an end to this conflict before it gets even worse. Based on the stubborn positions taken by the two sides here, do you think a cease-fire agreement will be reached this week? Do you support the U.S. diplomatic efforts? How much of an impact do you think Clinton can have on negotiations?

Source:  FoxNews

2 comments

  1. While a cease fire agreement was reached on Wednesday, I do not think it will last long, nor help relations in the long run. The feelings of anger and resentment are coming from the people, and a cease fire will not stop them from doing what they feel they must. For a settlement to occur, a lot more than UN intervention is needed – the leaders of the countries need to come together to work out their differences, while at the same time sending a message to their citizens that action taken by them will have consequences. I do support US efforts to try and calm the situation, as these killings of innocent men, women, and children needs to end. However, I feel that something more must be done to truly resolve this issue. While a cease fire was declared, there are already reports of that being broken, demonstrating how ineffective such agreements are on the people.

  2. Perhaps an international solution to the problem between the two nations is contingent upon the recognition of Palestine as a state. Palestine meets every criterion for Statehood, yet has not been afforded the title, despite its numerous applications. There is no denying that Hamas is a terrorist organization; however, the West Bank (which holds Jerusalem as its capital along with Israel) has a peaceful government.

    The continuation of what has now amounted to arguably the greatest humanitarian crisis in the recent era must be forestalled by the international community. The regional powers of the Middle East will continue to exercise their nascent authority over the region, and as time goes on they will become more belligerent to the notion that the West has taken: that Israel may act with impunity while justifying their acts with the implausible notion of a “constant state of emergency” which they claim to be under.

    There is no doubt that any solution to the problem must be pursued in an objective manner. With that said, it is objectively observable that Hamas and many other Gazans have engaged in acts of war that defy the rule of international law. It is my opinion that they are entitled to no defense with respect to whatever heinous acts that they have committed, such as: car/bus bombings and some rocket attacks. However, lets not render the facts irrelevant to the reality on the ground.

    The facts are that Gazans are without adequate food, healthcare, fuel, energy, and most other essentials of the 21st century. Furthermore, Gazans are not solely responsible for their dire conditions. Israel, with the un-waivering support of the United States, has engaged in a systematic campaign to deprive Gazans of movement, job opportunity, and, quite frankly, life.

    Unless the international community reevaluates the peace process between these two nations by amending its position regarding the distribution of responsibility for the instability, then there will be little progress made. It is easy to look to a picture like the one posted above and think “what savages those people are”; it is much less intuitive, however, to assess the systematic and disproportionate use of advanced military force as “savage”. Whatever the nature of the assessment, if the conclusion is the same then blame must be distributed equally.

    There is no more room in the rule of international law for impunity. Therefore, it is upon the international community to engage in a courageous campaign for equality: Invoke the rule of law impartially to condemn the violations of international law being committed by both parties, not merely against the party that is easily viewed by the blind eye as the “savage.”

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