Concrete proposals in order to make progress in the demilitarization of the Strip
The United Nations Security Council should meet at once to declare Gaza an emergency zone under the umbrella of the United Nations in accordance with Chapter VII, and immediately send a multinational peacekeeping force to the Strip in coordination with Israel and the Palestinian National Authority.
(From Buenos Aires) IT WOULD BE VERY EASY TO ACHIEVE PEACE in the Middle East if all of the players involved in the conflict were willing to stop the violence, put an end to the war and protect the lives of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. But the problem will not be resolved with fragile truces (which are almost never kept).
We must get the ball rolling on a serious and responsible plan containing the definitive solution to the problem, which includes the demilitarization and internationalization of Gaza. It is still too premature to discuss a global solution for the future of a Palestinian State and anticipate the end of the global war on terror, but not to resolve the conflict in Gaza.
It is important that all attempts at a Middle East peace agreement bear in mind the intentions of the Iranian and Syrian regimes, and that of their principal para-state alliance: Hezbollah. If we are really thinking about keeping Gaza’s civilian population safe from violence, as well as protecting the Israeli population from missiles and avoiding an escalation of greater violence that could affect the entire region, it is impossible to lose sight of the fact that the Iranian and Syrian regimes, together with Hezbollah, are opposed to any peace process.
GOOD INTENTIONS, WEAK WILLS
“The United Nations has an inescapable obligation to run Gaza until a responsible and internationally recognized Palestinian State is formed” In an interview with Al-Jazeera, the president of Israel, Shimon Peres, said that his country would end its military operations when Hamas and its allies stop their acts of hostility. The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority would be willing to assume its responsibility for the good of its people. In turn, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan said that their governments are willing to resolve the crisis in Gaza if the Palestinian Authority takes part in the effort. Meanwhile, American president Barack Obama, the European Union and the United Nations have stated that they are willing to put a definitive end to the conflict.
All of this sounds excellent, but how will such positive statements from international leaders and organizations be implemented? How will they be put into practice?
In the past, the UN has sponsored and managed distinct security systems in various regions around the globe such as: Bosnia, East Timor and Lebanon (albeit with less success in the country of cedars, precisely because of Hezbollah’s presence). In the same way, the solution to the problem in Gaza undoubtedly involves the UN and the international community, which will always be better than the last resort: the military route.
When an area falls under the control of a political-military group like Hamas that does not act according to International Law, and the civilian population is under fire due to the military actions of that group, the UN Security Council must intervene and apply Chapter VII of its charter. This point is not open to debate, and it concerns the protection of the civilian population and the reestablishment of the peace that has been disrupted. In this case, the United Nations has an inescapable obligation to run Gaza until a responsible and internationally recognized Palestinian State is formed.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACHIEVING PEACE
If all of the regional players really want peace, the solution is very simple and can be reached with political will and by taking into consideration the brief points that I describe below.
“A consortium of oil-producing Arab countries should be formed that, together with the OIC, finances the reconstruction of the whole of Gaza” – In the first place, the Security Council should meet at once to declare Gaza an emergency zone under the umbrella of the United Nations in accordance with Chapter VII, and immediately send a multinational peacekeeping force to the Strip in coordination with Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. This multinational force should not include soldiers from those countries at war with Israel or the Palestinian Authority, and should have diplomatic relations with both for the purpose of consolidating peace. The multinational force’s first objective should be the disarmament of Hamas and its allied militias.
-The Gaza Strip must be completely demilitarized and the Israeli forces should withdraw from the region’s borders, allowing for the multinational force to reestablish the Palestinian National Authority’s ability to protect the civilian population as a whole with a reformed and transparent police and security institution, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority’s own units. At the same time, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) should subsidize all the necessary expenses of both the multinational peacekeeping force and the PNA’s security forces, providing the required money to that effect. “Israel should commit itself to allowing Gazan workers to travel to the West Bank and vice-versa under the responsibility of the Palestinian National Authority”
- A consortium of oil-producing Arab countries should be formed that, together with the governments of the OIC members, finances (with an initial figure of 20 billion dollars) the reconstruction of the whole of Gaza through the Office of the Secretary General of the UN, in order to put an end to the economic crisis by building new schools, hospitals and basic infrastructure. At the same time, the Arab League should commit itself to granting visas and work permits to the residents of Gaza, allowing them to settle down in any Arab country if they so desire. In turn, Israel should commit itself to allowing Gazan workers to travel to the West Bank and vice-versa under the responsibility of the Palestinian National Authority.
- Finally, the Palestinian Authority and Israel should resume their direct negotiations for a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian State, with both countries’ borders being set and recognized by the international community.
“Such a plan will never see the light of day so long as Hamas and Hezbollah are financed by Tehran and Damascus to thwart any possible peace process” Through the points that I mention, peace, well-being and security can be brought to the Palestinian population in Gaza, as well as the Israeli civilians that have been victims of rocket and missile launching for eight years. With these few points, the responsibility that the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League and the OIC must assume in order to achieve peace is very clear.
If, dear reader, you have reached this point and you believe that this could be successful, unfortunately, I must warn you to not get your hopes up. Keep dreaming!
Obviously, such a plan will never see the light of day so long as one of the parties involved in the conflict thinks that only the military solution can lead to success, and in particular, as long as Hamas and Hezbollah are run by Tehran and Damascus with instructions to thwart any possible peace process.
NO PROGRESS IN THE FORECAST
In other words, the dictatorships and theocracies in the region continue to put their own personal agendas above the desire for peace.
The absence of liberty and democracy in Iran and Syria, coupled with the incompetence and lack of political will of more than a few UN and EU government officials, makes it impossible to establish dialogues through which regional peace could be achieved.