Siege-fire in Gaza

An Israeli missile hits Palestinian buildings in Gaza City on July 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX

The diplomatic wrangling over a cease-fire in Gaza looks set to continue, amid a flurry of meetings, telephone contacts and media statements by officials and politicians concerned with the crisis.

A legion of would-be fire-fighters are making the rounds, offering the usual statements of concern and disapproval, but little looks likely to change the tragic course of events on the ground.

In several previous instances of Israeli air campaigns against overwhelmingly civilian targets, a horrific, large-scale massacre has acted to trigger the kind of diplomatic movement that produces a cease-fire or “agreement.”

Such is the macabre dynamic of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. One wonders whether 1,000 Palestinian civilians dying in a single incident is something to be hoped for, because 1,000 dying one or two at a time will likely generate little in the way of diplomatic or political urgency.

The efforts to halt the current round of violence, moreover, will amount to nothing other than a temporary “time-out,” unless the root causes of the problem are addressed.

Supporters of Israeli policy have had a field day in the international media, for the most part, as they defend the horrific destruction being handed out by Tel Aviv against the people of Gaza.

To every person who says “stop the rockets,” it is important to answer with the simple phrase, “stop the siege.”

To those who say there should be a return to “calm,” it is important to say that this “calm” for Palestinians means living in a crowded, open-air concentration camp.

As long as Israel believes it has the right to surround and smother the Gaza Strip and its people, through the control of the land, sea and sky, the resentment and desperation will continue. A Palestinian entity, enjoying full sovereignty, represents a solution to the violence. Any other attempt to administer partial solutions will mean only that the coming explosion is merely on hold, until the situation on the ground reaches yet another boiling point.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 18, 2014, on page 7.




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