BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
A peace agreement has been reached after more than 1,500 rockets landed in Israel killing six based on official report by the government. More than 110 Palestinians lost their lives including the killing of 10 people from a single family, when Israeli fighters rained bombs on Hamas targets in Gaza. To many in Israel the truce means no more rockets from Gaza into Israel while those in Palestine see the agreement as a way to avoid the possibility of a ground invasion, a repeat of the incursion of 2008 that led to the death of more than 1,400 Palestinians.
Hamas and its supporters did not waste time to claim victory. For the first time, it was able to fire long-range missiles that reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a new development to its arsenal of weapons from Iran no one in Israel expected. For its part, Israel claims its new invention the “Iron Dome” achieved enormous success by intercepting more than 300 rockets from Gaza. After all, its warfare strategy and defense system was able to reduce missile threat from Hamas and its allies, a signal to Hamas and Iran of its ability to prevent future missile launch to its territories.
For both sides, the biggest prize in the fight was being able to show their cache of weapons for the world to see. We now know Israel has the “Iron Dome” funded partially by Washington to the tune of $300 million. On the other hand, it is clear Hamas has the backing of Iran with missiles that can reach as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Both sides have demonstrated with the recent fighting that the only way to peace is violence. Hamas came out of the attacks knowing that it must rain rockets on Israel in order to ease the Israeli blockade of Gaza, a demand it has achieved as part of the peace agreement brokered by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
Israel on the other hand, emerged knowing that Washington is still 100% on its side. The Obama administration made it clear Israel has every right to defend its territories at the beginning of the fighting, which may have bolstered Israel’s response to bomb Hamas’s establishments including its interior, culture and education ministry, to send a message it would not tolerate more rockets coming to Israel.
Some believe Israel’s bombings may have damaged Hamas ability to launch future attacks, due to destruction of its infrastructures. However, there are those who think the destruction will only limit Hamas’s ability to attack for a short time. The group has come out of the brief war more strengthened than ever. It is now enjoying the support of majority of Palestinians both in Gaza and the West Bank and its resilience to Israeli attacks has helped it garner support and respect from the Arab world.
Both sides have made it clear the peace agreement will stand only if each side honors its obligations. While the truce may have helped President Morsi’s stand in the region, as a peace broker Israel can depend on since the exit of Mubarak, the recent peace agreement, will end up similar to the decades old peace agreements that led to no productive end. The truth is the recent truce between Israel and Hamas is ephemera. It is nothing but a cosmetic approach to a conflict that is not treated at its roots.
Each party has made it clear what they want to achieve. Hamas and the Palestinian people demand the emancipation of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital, the return of displaced Palestinian refugees to their home land and the withdrawal of Israel from regions occupied since 1967. Israel on the other hand disputes the claims, it demands that Hamas recognize Israel and end its rhetoric of wiping Israel off the map. Israel has also refused to give up Jerusalem and it’s unwilling to withdraw from all the occupied lands though, it had taken steps to demolish some Jewish settlements.
As long as those issues remain unresolved, no amount of truce will bring an end to the impasse. The Palestinian question has threatened world peace for decades and till this day, all peace agreements reached have been short lived. The current peace treaty will not be an exception, it is just another cover-up and it won’t take long before the bubble bursts again. Israel has blocked every move by Palestine to establish statehood at the United Nations. It wants Hamas to recognize Israel before any talk of independence can come to the table. The question is why would Israel need Hamas to endorse its existence as a sovereign state, when it considered Hamas a terrorist organization?
There may be more to the matter but one thing is true, Israel is a secured and sovereign state and will always remain so. It enjoys the backing of the United States and some of the most powerful nations on earth. As for threats, Israel is the only nation in the region with sophisticated nuclear arsenal estimated to be about 100 to 500 weapons, many on submarines and advanced ballistic missiles. Therefore, the threat to Israel’s existence as a secured state remains unknown.
Israel’s economic growth, its military might, its technological know-how and its status as a friend of the most powerful nation on earth, has set it aside as the nation that calls the shots in the region. To date, thousands of Palestinian families work in Israel and depend on income from jobs in Israel to provide for their families. Will those who rely on occupation in Israel to put food on the table want to see Israel off the map? The fact is there is no threat to Israel’s existence, it is recognized by almost all nations on earth and has diplomatic relations with all sovereign states. Israel does not need the endorsement of Hamas and Fatah to exist, Hamas and its leader Khaled Meshal represent no threat considering the power of Israel, so why refuse to “let the people go.”
The conflict has gone on for too long and it’s destined to remain unresolved unless the leadership in Israel begins to take action. The United States is a major actor with enough power to pressure Israel but as long as Washington continues to sit on the sideline, the Palestinian question will never be resolved. All peace initiatives will amount to nothing but mere truce with boundary. Israel must take the first step to declare the independence of Palestine, remove all obstacles to its move for statehood and then later engage with other nations to resolve the issue of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees.
Such move by Israel would render Hamas powerless and incapable of maintaining its rhetoric of destroying Israel. Israel will have massive support worldwide and any threat to its existence by its Arab neighbors would be met with resistance. But unless Israel begins to take these steps, the instability in the Middle East will persist and any peace agreement with its neighbors is only a cosmetic solution.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E.JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE.’ Follow on Twitter @san0670