A non-starter

Published June 14, 2024

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza — which was basically an endorsement of President Joe Biden’s ‘peace plan’ and supposedly designed to stop the slaughter — Israel’s actions both before and after the resolution’s adoption indicate it is in no mood for peace. Before the resolution was passed, Israel raided the Nuseirat camp to rescue a number of hostages. Palestinians have described the operation as a massacre, resulting in nearly 300 fatalities. Even after the resolution was passed, Tel Aviv has continued its relentless pounding of Gaza. As these lines were being written on Thursday, the Israeli war machine was unleashing destruction on Rafah. The Americans, meanwhile, have publicly called on Hamas to ratify the deal. The problem here is not the Palestinian factions; it is Israel. Hamas had earlier welcomed the UNSC resolution, though it called for a permanent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The Israeli leadership, meanwhile, has maintained ambiguity over its stance on the ceasefire. In fact, their continuing blood-soaked forays into Gaza indicate Israel’s true feelings about the peace plan.

America’s focus appears to be misplaced. Instead of piling pressure on the Palestinians, Washington needs to tell its ‘ironclad’ allies in Tel Aviv to immediately end hostilities. But that is unlikely to happen, as the US, at all international forums, has acted as Israel’s primary advocate rather than a neutral peacemaker. Moreover, Mr Biden’s push for peace is not likely influenced by any empathy for the over 37,000 dead Palestinians Israel has butchered. November approaches, and the US leader is more worried about a messy Middle East war dampening his chances at re-election. Only a ceasefire that demands all sides immediately silence their guns can work, that too if the international community threatens to isolate Israel in case of non-compliance. Without that, hopes for peace are fanciful.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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