Monday, 4 August 2014

The Solution in Gaza?

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.


  1. I suspect that those nations supplying the "peacekeeping contingent/human shield" would encounter so much domestic political opposition that it would political suicide for their leaders. If neither of the warring factions are prepared to do the "heavy lifting" why should the UN, that is surely not the role of a peacekeeping force?

    1. Generally the job of peacekeeping forces is to keep the peace. Often by actively intervening to prevent violence from occuring. As for political suicide, that depends on who comes on board (the US basically a no-go for obvious reasons). Public opinion right now here in the UK seems to be very much of the moral outrage against Israel type (with a hint of convenient blindness to Hamas activity). Conversely then I think politicians might actually be able to accrue significant public capital by stepping in.

      And christ on a bike, just seen how bloody epilepsy inducing that logo is in the background.

  2. The 2006 Lebanon War ended with a UN peacekeeping force, with orders to disarm Hezbollah on the border.
    The Peacekeepers have been deployed, but they are only permitted because they turn a blind eye to Hezbollahs armed forces.

    Who would deploy forces to Gaza with orders to disarm Hamas?
    Who would actually disarm Hamas with force?
    Who would risk the inevitable losses when Hamas fire a rocket from the gate of the UN Peace House and Israel flattens said house?

    If the Peace Keepers are deployed with orders to disarm Hamas they can hardly complain if they are killed in a war started by Hamas using weapons they were supposed to secure.

    Peace will come to Gaza when the Gazans decide its more important for their children to be happy than Israeli children to be miserable and not a day before.

    1. I'm interested to know what you think a largely unarmed civilian population is supposed to do by itself against Hamas?

      There's not really the space here to go into much detail, but I did mention in the article for example havng a UN enforced no-fly zone over Gaza, with the Israeli's leaving the job of shutting down rocket attacks to the UN force. Said force wouldn't have to seize every last AK and hand grenade, just prevent the rocket attacks to the best of their ability and stop the construction of tunnels.

    2. "I'm interested to know what you think a largely unarmed civilian population is supposed to do by itself against Hamas?"
      Well, they probably shouldnt have elected Hamas, and allowed it to disarm them in the first place. But the USSR was toppled by its populace, and Hamas is far less powerful.

      "There's not really the space here to go into much detail, but I did mention in the article for example havng a UN enforced no-fly zone over Gaza,"

      Well since the Gazan armed forces lack an airforce, such a no fly zone merely protects the Gazan rocket artillery from the Israeli Airforce.
      Who is going to tell the IDF they cant bomb Gazan artillery shelling Sderot?
      Whos actually going to stop them?
      The RAF operating out of Cyprus wouldnt stand a chance.
      A large integrated Russian Air Defence system probably could, maybe, but whos going to host it? And why would Russia remove its defences from Moscow to defend Gaza?
      As could several US Carrier Fleets, maybe all, the active US Carrier Air (The IDF operating 400+ F15/16s), but again, why would the US remove its carrier air from the Pacific and North Atlantic to ensure that Gaza has an easier time of rocketing Tel Aviv?

      "with the Israeli's leaving the job of shutting down rocket attacks to the UN force."
      And whos going to do that?
      If Gaza refuses to disarm, who is going to fight their way in, topple the Gazan government and take on the role of occupying power?
      Norway? Nigeria?

      Like it or not Hamas is the duly elected government of Gaza and the West Bank,_2006

    3. The idea that the civilians in Gaza could overthrow Hamas by force is ludicrous. The USSR was imploding on multiple levels, and the border guards in Berlin for example had very little connection to the political heads in Moscow. Comparing Hamas to the USSR is utterly ridiculous.

      As for the no fly zone, do you really think Israel would start pushing the International communities patience? Even the Israeli's have limits, and they know it. The aircraft used in this no fly zone could "do a Libya" and carry out strikes where needed against Hamas fire into Israel, but on a much more controlled basis than what Israel is doing now.

      If Hamas refuses to disarm, the UN has no need to take over the entire area and try to run it like some province. All they have to do is try and limit the rocket attacks. Israel's Iron Dome will do the rest. The rocket attacks have actually posed only a mild threat to Israel, as the weapons are very inaccurate. I'm sure Israel could agree to live with some rockets in exchange for the UN peacekeepers making active efforts to keep rocket attacks down.