International Crisis Group:

via the International Crisis Group:

Gaza and Israel: New Obstacles, New Solutions

To break the violent impasse, Israel must change its policy toward Hamas and work toward a lasting ceasefire, recognising how much its own stability depends on the stability of Gaza.

After rounds of pyrrhic victories and weak ceasefires, Israel and Hamas are again locked in combat, with at least 168 Palestinian deaths, mainly civilian, in less than a week and Israeli civilians seeking shelter from rocket salvos. The policy of isolating Hamas has proved counterproductive and made reviving Gaza not just a humanitarian necessity but a requirement for calm and stability. In its latest briefing, Gaza and Israel: New Obstacles, New Solutions, the International Crisis Group examines scenarios that could result from the fighting and outlines the conditions necessary to ensure a more stable cessation of violence.
[Executive Summary | Full Briefing PDF]

The report’s major findings and recommendations are: [OC4P highlight]

    • Anchoring a ceasefire in a political framework is the only way to prevent it from unravelling as fast as previous ones. No lasting arrangement can be reached without Egypt. Despite Hamas’s poor relations with Egypt, the sooner Cairo accelerates its role, the sooner the conflict can end.
    • Anchoring a ceasefire in a political framework is the only way to prevent it from unravelling as fast as previous ones. No lasting arrangement can be reached without Egypt. Despite Hamas’s poor relations with Egypt, the sooner Cairo accelerates its role, the sooner the conflict can end.
    • Hamas should ensure, in tacit cooperation with the new government, acceptance and maintenance of the ceasefire by all Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.
    • The PA [Palestinian Authority] should help arrange for payment of the roughly 43,000 Gaza government employees hired under Hamas who are not receiving their salaries. PA security forces should be deployed at border crossings to facilitate the movement of goods to Gaza and of people to Israel and Egypt.
    • The U.S. should continue to support the reconciliation government, and Israel should cooperate with it to resolve Gaza’s most pressing problems, including energy, water and sanitation.

‘Given the choice between being slowly squeezed to death and going down fighting, and that between waiting for Israel to eliminate the stockpiles [of rockets] on the ground or shooting them into Israel, Hamas will take the latter both times. Knowing that it cannot best Israel militarily, it has opted for a psychological war of attrition’, says Nathan Thrall, Middle East Senior Analyst.

‘Prime Minister Netanyahu is caught between Realpolitik and electoral considerations. Realpolitik dictates a controlled escalation followed by a renewed ceasefire, but any concession he makes to Hamas will be used against him by competitors to his right, who advocate a more extensive campaign and more ambitious objectives in Gaza’, says Ofer Zalzberg, Senior Analyst for Israel/Palestine.

‘The policy of trying to topple or weaken Hamas was misguided when designed and remains so’, says Robert Blecher, Middle East and North Africa Acting Program Director. ‘The sooner it is reversed, the sooner Gazans can resume something like a normal life, Israelis can come out of bomb shelters and Palestinians can repair their internal affairs and prepare to enter a reformed peace process’.

Executive Summary | Full Briefing PDF

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About Oban Concern for Palestine

. . . supporting people in Palestine and Israel who oppose the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Oban Concern for Palestine are a group of Argyll residents who share an interest in Palestine, a friendship with its people and a deep concern for their welfare. And, for the sake of Israel, we want to encourage the government of Israel to comply with international law. Oban Concern for Palestine believe that the oppression of the Palestinian people is a grave wrong, that the government of Israel is in violation of international law, and that we have a duty to speak up and do what we can to bring it to an end. We welcome new members and supporters. For more information, please contact obanconcern4palestine AT gmail DOT com • +44 7747 300 062 • Oban Concern for Palestine, c/o Stronchriach, Rowan Road, Oban, Argyll, PA34 5TY, UK
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