The offensive by the Israel Defense Force to destroy Hamas tunnels is complete, and soldiers have withdrawn from Gaza. Three day truce clock is ticking, and hopefully no rockets will be fired from Gaza, and hopefully, IDF won’t detect hostile actions that might provoke an air strike. Either of those circumstances could end the truce.
Hamas has lost respect among the Arab community as it is seen as having put too many civilians at risk. The presence of Iranian-led fighters among them and Qatar’s financial and other support for Hamas undermine Hamas’ “integrity” as a political organization. Watch for the cards to fall.
Challenge: Convince Gaza residents that Israel wants to help them improve the quality of their lives.
Opportunity: The current situation has softened Hamas and Gaza citizens physically. Many Gaza citizens expressed that they want two things:
Israel can address those things when given viable and credible representation for Gaza citizens.
Diplomacy: Third parties are needed to set the stage for a peaceful resolution. Third parties should not impose legacy ideas and solutions. A focused approach might be more productive.
- Address the needs of Gaza residents. Gaza residents segregated themselves from the West Bank. Try to keep it that way because the Gaza solution is more manageable than the entire Palestinian problem.
- Pursue a solution that seeks to integrate Gaza citizens into Israelis society as opposed to apartheid and partitioning.
- Strategically work with third parties to push talks about a Palestinian state to the West Bank. Decouple Gaza from the West Bank as they are naturally segregated physically.
- Use the situation to openly discuss that “ethnic populations” do not translate to ethnic statehood. Diversity, democracy, and individual freedom are elements of a successful conclusion.
This is a time for great diplomats to rise to the occasion. It is one in which collaboration and consensus are needed. It is not a time for any diplomat to attempt to exploit the situation for personal gain because that ambition will be transparent. President Obama should consider putting someone else on point other than John Kerry.
“Israel says ground troops out of Gaza as cease-fire takes effect
Published August 05, 2014
The Israeli military has said that all of its ground forces have been removed from Gaza as a 72-hour cease-fire went into effect Tuesday.
The truce, agreed upon Monday by Israel and Hamas, took effect at 8 a.m. local time Tuesday (1 a.m. Eastern Time). The Times of Israel reported that a barrage of rockets were fired from Gaza minutes before the cease-fire was due to take effect. The paper also reported that Israeli's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two rockets over central Israel, while two other rockets fell into open areas in southern Israel near the Gaza border, causing no damage or injuries.
There were also signs of tensions created by the Gaza fighting spreading to Jerusalem and the West Bank, including two attacks police say were carried out by Palestinian militants. In Gaza City, where streets had been deserted during the war, traffic picked up and shops started opening doors.”