Israel Should Demonstrate Good Faith Before Gaza Ceasefire
by Anisa Abd El Fattah
The idea that there should be a cease fire agreement between Israel and the resistance in Gaza before the Rafah and other crossings into Gaza are opened is difficult to understand, and defies logic. After 23 days of criminal murder and destruction of property, that resulted from Israel’s and its supporter’s wrong belief that Israel can accomplish through violence what it lacks the credibility to accomplish through negotiations, the resistance is again being asked to accept once again, the idea that Israel will abide by a cease fire agreement the terms of which include the opening of all crossings and the lifting of the illegal economic blockade being imposed upon Gaza. No one has explained why the people of Gaza should accept such an agreement. Why, after suffering 23 days of an illegal Israeli military assault that resulted from a dishonest process that included a fake cease fire agreement that was never intended to yield anything more than the time necessary for Israel to plan and to carry out its December 27th attack, should the people of Gaza be willing to enter such an agreement? There has been enough written by reliable sources, suggesting that as Israel was negotiating the previous 6 month cease fire through its ally Egypt, that it was in fact already planning the recent attack carried out against the people of Gaza. The attack left more than 1000 dead, mostly women and children, and thousands more injured. Israel destroyed Gaza’s already crumbling infrastructure, and also used banned and illegal weapons against the people. The crossings were not opened during the cease fire as agreed, and they were not opened during the war, not even to allow ambulances and medicines into Gaza, so why should the people of Gaza believe that they will be opened now?
It is more reasonable, considering that Israel must not be rewarded in any way for its criminal behavior and its violations of international law in Gaza, that before any agreed upon cease fire begins, the crossings into the Gaza Strip be opened for at least one month, and Israel be made to cover the cost of all needed fuel and other humanitarian aid up to an agreed upon amount, or over a certain amount of time. This agreement to compensate Gaza in part for the destruction that Israel caused during its 23 day war, along with the opening of the crossings would be a seen as a good faith gesture, and it would go a long way in restoring Israel’s credibility, which would strengthen the agreement. To date, Israel has never kept an agreement of any kind with the people of Palestine. It has instead used a carrot stick strategy, where Israel promises carrots, yet wages war hoping that through murder and intimidation it will force the people of Palestine to submit to its will, and voluntarily enslave themselves to Israel’s criminal occupation. It was this type of fear that caused the former President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmood Abbas to declare shortly after Israel’s attack, that the only hope for Gaza was to submit to Israel and to agree upon what he called peace, and what the Qur’an calls oppression.
If indeed the international community of people and nations are committed to the restoration of international law, and are willing to conform to the Geneva Convention prohibition against forcing or compelling a people living under a criminal military occupation to negotiate away their rights, this cease fire is where we must begin.
Israel should not be allowed ever again to use violence to gain advantages over the Palestinian people. Nor should it be allowed to use the appearance of negotiations to trick the Palestinian people into surrendering their rights, simply because the international community lacks the commitment or the will to uphold the law, and to demand justice for Palestine. Recent conferences and meetings that are supposedly aimed at arranging a resolution to the current crisis through a negotiated cease fire, might very well be the veils that are covering the true intent of Israel and its patrons to use a cease fire agreement to tie Gaza’s hands, while it carries out more violent attacks, including targeted assassinations against Hamas’s leadership. The only way to insure that this is not the case, and to prove that Israel and its patrons are not again attempting to benefit from Israel’s criminal Dec. 27 assault, using fear and threats of future attacks to coerce the people of Palestine into self defeating agreements, is to compel Israel to act first in good faith, and to end its violent attacks against Gaza, open the Rafah and other crossings into Gaza for a period of one month prior to the inception of the formal cease fire agreement, while agreeing to compensate the people of Gaza for some of the hardship and loss that Israel caused during its illegal 23 day war by covering the cost of food and humanitarian aide over an agreed upon period of time, or an agreed upon amount.
Any cease fire agreement that does not require that Israel perform good faith gestures to somewhat restore its credibility as a serious and realizable party to any agreement, will be nothing more than an agreement that is aimed at binding the people of Gaza to another unilateral cease fire, while Israel will not be compelled to keep its agreements, and just as before, while Gaza keeps its end of the agreement, Israel will be carrying out targeted assassinations hoping to remove the Hamas leadership, and imposing Mahmoud Abbas’s illegitimate authority over Gaza.
Of course it is reasonable for the people of Gaza to have a desire to avoid more of Israel’s disproportionate violence, knowing now that not only are the US and EU likely to permit Israel to attack Gaza again, but will also turn their heads as Israel returns to its illegal targeted assassination policy, and that many of the Arab and Muslim governments will join them in such a conspiracy. No one could fault the resistance for feeling pressured to accept any cease fire agreement that might hold off another “all out attack.” There is only one thing different that the resistance can rely upon now, that it could not possibly foresee from Gaza, and that is that the people of the Muslim world will not stand by and allow Gaza to suffer again as it did before. Also, there are Muslim governments who are prepared to condemn Israel, and even to take steps, using their stature to demand that the international institutions take action to prevent further Israeli aggression. Whereas before the US, EU and Israel were able to stave off any opposition to Israel’s lawlessness and violence, it is not likely that they would be able to silence or control a Muslim world that will likely erupt should Israel ever attack Gaza’s people again.