As the conflict in Gaza continues to drag on, with the latest ceasefire seemingly no more likely to produce a lasting result than the last, the question becomes what to do about Gaza? This of course has been a question that has plagued the leaders of both Palestine and Israel - as well as most of the world - for a very long time. Consensus is hard to come bye, and even harder is to find a solution that both Israel and the Palestinians are happy with.
It's an odd situation for the simple reason that normally the UN or NATO would have stepped in by now. If Israel didn't have the backing of the United States in the way that it does then you would have expected to have seen an enforced no-fly zone in place by now, similar to the one imposed on Libya back in 2011. Resolving such conflicts is precisely the sort of thing that the UN was set up for in the first place.
And maybe it may yet hold the soltuion?
The Israeli argument is fairly simple; they want rocket attacks and cross border terrorist attacks to stop. The Palestinians want to not be bombed in a somewhat indiscriminant manner as a result of the actions of Hamas. Neither side can really deliver on its end of the bargain for the simple reason that they will always feel compelled to respond to the other, sparking fresh hostilities as we've seen in the last few weeks.
Perhaps it is in to this breach that the UN could step, providing a force that would both endeavour to stop Hamas rocket attacks and cross border raids against Israel, while also shielding the Palestinian people from Israeli counter strikes.
Israel certainly can't have too many complaints about the potential results for their security situation. So far they've lost precisely 2 civilians to Hamas attacks, versus the estimated 1,500-2,000 civilian casualties they've inflicted in return. Frankly the Israelis could probably just sit back and do nothing except engage incoming rockets with its Iron Dome system and still see the same results. A UN peacekeeping force could in turn do much of the heavy lifting with regards to hunting out terrorists for them.
And I suspect the Palestinians would have few qualms either at the prospect of being protected from Israeli counter action, while efforts to suppress Hamas might give the ordinary citizen on the street the future possibility of a life other than that of a human shield.
It really does beg the question of what the UN is for if it can't even agree to step in and resolve this crisis.