Analysis: Demystifying the ceasefire taboo in the Israel-Gaza conflict - M5 Dergi
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Analysis: Demystifying the ceasefire taboo in the Israel-Gaza conflict

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In negotiations, while Hamas proposed a comprehensive plan including prisoner exchanges and a permanent ceasefire, Israel focused on political gains while continuing military actions.

Since the Israeli invasion of Gaza at the end of October 2023, the term “ceasefire” has become a taboo word for Western leaders. Israeli officials have been vehemently opposing efforts to achieve a ceasefire, criticizing those who call for one, and attempting to prevent its discussion in international media and platforms. This effort has led to the concept being downplayed to what Israeli supporters refer to as a “temporary pause,” often spun as a humanitarian effort.

A global movement of protestors, against what many experts consider to be an Israeli genocide against the Palestinians, has demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Many Jews worldwide, including survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants, have shown strong support for an immediate ceasefire.

In early November, the G7, which includes Western nations (US, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada, and the EU) along with Japan, called for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, but notably not for a ceasefire. United Nations humanitarian officials recently warned of a high risk of famine in the Gaza Strip if a ceasefire is not achieved, highlighting the dire humanitarian situation.

The US has consistently refused calls for a ceasefire, citing Israel’s right to defend itself. This stance is taken despite international law typically not granting occupying forces and colonial actors the right to self-defense. Biden was clear about the US effort to give Israel besides the ultimate support, all the needed time to continue its campaign against of the Palestinians.

Israel is hindering negotiations

Despite Arab governments’ calls for Washington to act in a way that preserve its interests and prevent the whole region from sliding into certain chaos by seeking a ceasefire, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, rebuffed their demand to call for a ceasefire, which raises the question of why?

Achieving a ceasefire would imply that Israel has failed in its declared goal to completely destroy Hamas, a goal most experts consider unrealistic anyway regardless of the time factor. The term “destruction” lacks clarity beyond the implication of wiping out Gaza itself.

A ceasefire would shift the focus from the war on Palestinians to accountability. Internally, many Israelis, both publicly and officially, have called for Netanyahu to resign and face court for his responsibility in the conflict’s outbreak. On the International level, the intervening against Israel in the ICJ is gaining traction towards establishing a case of genocide.

Moreover, a ceasefire would necessitate Israel coming up with a political solution for the conflict, something it has repeatedly shown unwillingness to do it in decades, particularly following the Oslo Accords. In the first months of the war, Netanyahu boasted of sabotaging the Oslo Accords and preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state, denying Palestinians their legitimate rights to sovereignty, dignity, and independence.

Although the two-state solution might no longer be viable due to continuous land theft, settlement expansion, settlers proliferation, and destruction of statehood pillars (land, people, infrastructure), Netanyahu and the Israeli establishment reiterated last month their opposition to it, claiming it does not serve Israel’s interests.

According to documents presented recently to members of Israel’s security cabinet, Israel would maintain security control over all land west of the Jordan River, including the occupied West Bank and Gaza, which means maintaining of the occupation in other means. The Israeli government has approved resolutions rejecting any international recognition of a Palestinian State.

Another aim of avoiding a ceasefire is Netanyahu’s attempt to prolong the war indefinitely and possibly expand it. Despite unprecedented US support for Israel during this conflict, Netanyahu believes that a potential Trump administration would offer even stronger backing.

Biden administration’s image problem

The Biden administration, while aligning with Israel on refraining from calling for a ceasefire, faces an image problem and aims to mitigate internal backlash affecting the President’s standing in the upcoming elections. After vetoing an Arab-backed UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire last February, the US began discussing a “temporary ceasefire” under conditions favorable to Israel.

The US media started to use the term ceasefire only as a tactic to blame Hamas for failing to agree on its terms. Netanyahu claimed the majority of Americans support Israel’s continued campaign until victory. In negotiations, while Hamas proposed a comprehensive plan including prisoner exchanges and a permanent ceasefire, Israel focused on political gains while continuing military actions.

Qatar, the central mediator and negotiator, has made some progress in the previous rounds of negotiations, securing the release of detainees and facilitating humanitarian aid. However, the new round is facing bigger challenges. Qatari efforts to convince the involved parties of the Paris outcomes have been facing a consistent Israeli counter effort to hinder the negotiations.

While the US President showed optimism about the prospects of a deal the week before Ramadan, Doha declined to speculate when a deal could be announced. Having said this, there is a kind of agreement among the Qataris and the Americans on the need to announce something before Ramadan, yet whether a ceasefire will be achieved would remain to be seen.

Source: Aa

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