President Obama presses Netanyahu to call ‘immediate and unconditional’ Gaza ceasefire
|Netanyahu and Obama|
The United Nations Security Council unanimously passes a statement calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire on humanitarian grounds, in Gaza. In the meantime President Obama has a long telephone conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister of Israel, pressing Netanyahu to call an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.
With this flurry of diplomatic activity at the United Nations, the two sides in Gaza, observe a fragile ceasefire. Paradoxically even during the supposed truce, Israel continues with its programme of destruction of Palestinian tunnels and other infrastructure. It is indeed a strange phenomenon that's the invading forces, the aggressor in fact, continues with his programme of destruction while at the same time the Palestinians are expected to show maximum restraint in defence of their territory. I cannot recall any other instance where a truce or ceasefire has been in place and one side is allowed to continue its activities whilst the other side is expected to remain passive. However in the strange world of the Middle East, particularly where Israel is concerned, the normal rules seem not to apply.
|Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour|
It is now reported that within the last hour 11 AM 28 July 2014, Israeli planes have attacked targets in Gaza and tanks are shelling residential districts. The Eid Festival, marking the end of Ramadan has started with a continuation of hostilities which have been going on since early July. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians, are prepared to accept the statement from the United Nations Security Council, calling for an immediate ceasefire. The Israelis consider that the statement goes too far and would prevent them from completing the objectives in Gaza was on the other hand the Palestinians consider that statement does not go far enough. It fails to address the fundamental problems of listing the blockade and ending the occupation together with the release of Palestinian prisoners. In the light of this is difficult to see a solution certainly in the short term, where both sides, remain fixed in their respective positions. The intervention from President Obama has not been well received in Tel Aviv, with the Israeli press from all sides of the political spectrum critical of both the Obama and Secretary Kerry, who it is felt have gone too far towards the Palestinian position seeking to bring about a commitment from Israel to address Palestinian aspirations in respect of lifting the blockade. There is a growing lobby in Tel Aviv intent on expanding the current military operation to completely destroy Palestinian infrastructure and demilitarise Gaza by disarming Hamas.
This seems to be little prospect of any reconciliation of these opposing views in the foreseeable future and until such times as Israel recognises that the illegal blockade of Gaza must be lifted and the land borders between Gaza and Egypt must be opened it is inevitable that the current round of hostilities will continue.
Moreover, Israel must be made to realise that their continued imposition of the blockade and occupation of Gaza is rapidly losing support in many countries around the world. In this respect Israel is becoming more and more isolated on a daily basis. The hysterical outbursts from both Netanyahu and from the usual Israeli spokespersons on television and in the press are indicative of a government turning in on itself and becoming more and more isolationist in his attitudes. This is both unhelpful in solving the underlying problems and can be dangerous in respect of relationships within the area.