The current round of the indirect negotiations between the Palestinians in Cairo is very decisive. The two disputing parties are playing up their demands; the Israelis threaten not to endorse the Egyptian brokered initiative hoping that stability along the borders and the settlements around Gaza is maintained without committing itself to any terms of agreement. They wish this stability should be reciprocated in a way which overlooks the legitimate humanitarian demands of the Palestinians, mainly after the massive damage caused by the Israel’s bombardment of houses, schools, hospitals, mosques, and many other vital amenities. Added to this is the number of the Palestinians who were killed and injured in what has been described as the worst crimes against humanity. On the other hand, the Palestinian side insists that all its humanitarian demands be met soon in a way which will show them the triumphant in the war, a thing which the Israeli leaders will not accept. Therefore, we expect the Israelis will keep maneuvering and the wrangling will continue and the outcome might assume certain scenarios.
The first scenario which the Israelis might like to endorse is unilateral declaration of ending the war against the Palestinians. Here the Israelis think that they can wriggle out any responsibility or commitment towards the Palestinians whose houses were massively destroyed and their civilians were brutally killed by the Israelis. This scenario will result in neither stability nor security; the Palestinians will not leave Israel on its own after it had transformed most of Gaza into mounts of wreckage. The Palestinians will resume the fight and the Israelis will retaliate and in this way the whole crisis will go back to square one.
The second possible scenario will be a tenuous agreement whereby Israel agrees to ease some of the restrictions and follows an obnoxious policy of gradualism which will distract people from the main goal of lifting the siege. This scenario will be similar to the set of understandings reached in the wake of the 2012, an agreement which led to the current crises. Yet, this agreement will be even worse because the Israelis will insist that Abass’ presidential forces will keep order on the boarder; but this is unlikely because it is only the forces of Hamas that are capable of maintaining stability and order on the border area.
The third scenario is a kind of agreement between the two parities; an agreement by which the humanitarian demands of the Palestinians are met; this should include total lift of the siege, free yet internationally monitored movement by air, land , and sea. It should also include a fair swap deal of prisoners on both sides. This kind of agreement should be a long term one, at least for 10-15 years during which Israel respects the Palestinians and promises to give them back their legitimate rights, and in return, Israel would enjoy stability and peaceful life. During this period all acrimony and spirit will of dispute will be replaced by confidence and real desire of peaceful coexistence.
by Dr. Akram Habeeb
Dr. Habeeb is an assistant professor in English and American Literature