BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
August 1, 2014
The cease-fire as designed was to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and to allow Palestinians to “bury their dead,” according to its language. Instead, the proposed cease-fire was dead on arrival because the authors mainly the United States and the UN violated the rules of conflict resolution and ignored a major ingredient of diplomacy when they allowed a loophole in its draft.
It is a fallacy to think the cease-fire would work. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did everything within his power to arrive at the 72-hour truce but made a blunder based on his statement that the cease-fire would allow hostilities to continue, while at the same time trying to arrive at a solution. Here is what he said: “During this time, the forces on the ground will remain in place.”
The cease-fire allowed defensive mission but for Israel, it means troops on the ground in Gaza can continue to destroy the tunnels and carry out military operations, while Palestinians in Gaza will be able to receive humanitarian assistance, treat the wounded and bury their dead. It does not require diplomacy 101 to know this is a cease-fire destined for failure. A cease-fire should mean what it says that is, all hostilities must stop and end. However, when there is one in place that offers leverage to a warring party at the expense of the other, it is unlikely such truce would achieve what it is intended to do.
Barely 90-minutes after the deal, both sides have returned to hostilities. An Israeli soldier was captured by militants, two other soldiers from the Israeli side died, while many Palestinian civilians have lost their lives in renewed fighting. Knowing how tense the situation is, it is inconceivable how the authors of this failed truce believed it would work by allowing one party to continue the carnage, while the other standby and deal with the destruction.
This is not how diplomacy and peacemaking works. Israel has the right to exist as a state and defend its territories from terrorist incursion. However, a fair truce is one that calls for complete cessation of hostilities from both sides, while negotiation continue to find a lasting solution. Kerry’s peacemaking mission failed because it has a hole that seems to give one party an advantage over the other. Hamas is unwilling to standby and watch Israel, continue military operations into its territories under pretext of a cease-fire.
The cease-fire is ephemeral because it has broken the rule of peacemaking, which requires fairness in dealing with both parties in conflict. Many Arab nations no longer like Hamas for the devastation it caused Palestinians, but they sympathize with Palestinian civilians caught in the middle. They now see our government’s position on the Palestinian question as unbalanced. The fear is that, credibility of the U.S. as a fair peace-broker is fast eroding.
This is a botched cease-fire and it is no wonder it failed. Our government in Washington must take the Palestinian issue seriously or else, this is a war with no end. Many American President came and left without finding a solution and the way things are, neither Obama nor Netanyahu would resolve the conflict. There is a way forward and that is by addressing the root causes. Our leadership knows the truth but unless they’re willing to stand up and deal with the situation, without fear of repression, it won’t be long before another Middle East war.
Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.