The current agreement is not an unmitigated disaster, but it is a busha (embarrassment), that only serves to encourage Hamas, Islamism in general, and will no doubt be pointed to during the next war with Hamas as a failure in diplomacy. I’m specifically disappointed by the fact that Hamas got tangible if retractable gains (double the fishing zone, 200 out of 300 meters of the inner-border security strip, and more open borders), while Israel got absolutely nothing in return.
The halting of rockets doesn’t count, because we also have to hold our fire, and anyway, at issue is what is gained from a ceasefire agreement. What Israel should have demanded in exchange is a tandem of commitments from Hamas and the UN, as follows: Hamas: In lieu of disarming (which is probably futile anyway at this point), Hamas should have had to sign a declaration that it will never again fire rockets towards civilian areas (with a hard list of Israeli cities and communities), that it will neither store nor use rockets in civilian areas (also based on a predefined list), and that it will cease to dig tunnels that invade Israeli territory. UN: The UN should have to issue a declaration (or agreed to pass a resolution) that it will provide a team of inspectors (agreed upon number like 500) to make sure that Hamas is keeping its word, and that if the inspectors discover violations at UN sites, those sites will be closed down to the detriment of the Gazan population.
Violations in general would lead to UN condemnations and withdrawing of financial support from the US and the EU members, as well as funding of UNRWA. A separate team of UN inspectors would have the job of monitoring Palestinian media and school books for gross incitement (i.e. not maps of Greater Palestine and the like, but overt calls for genocide and terrorism), with similar repercussions as listed above for serious violations.
Israeli Right to Self Defense: Moreover, the UN declaration/resolution should specify that Israel has the right to fire at all active missile launchers (using up to a pre-specified weight and type of munitions) regardless of the location, and that if there is civilian collateral damage within a pre-specified distance to the launcher, those casualties will be deemed acceptable and no reason for any accusation of war crimes in the Hague.
Remuneration for Israel: Finally, the UN should declare that any funding given to Gaza for rebuilding will be matched by funding for Israel to remunerate merchants who depend on tourism for their livelihood, and of course for rebuilding damage caused by Gazan rockets. That would send an important message to Gaza’s terrorists that they cannot cause permanent economic damage to Israel with their rockets, and conversely, the Gazan population will understand that supporting rocket launchings and tunneling may jeopardize the amount of funding that they will receive to rebuild their homes.
I think all of the above suggestions are realistic and would enjoy broad support from most countries, no?
Less realistic, but crucial in my opinion, would be Hamas having to issue a new charter that removes the openly antisemitic sections of the current charter, and even better, replaces them with the Zionist quotes from the Quran and Hadith. This would then have to be taught in Gazan schools and published in the media. OK, with this I’m dreaming, but it’s a worthy dream.
About the Author: Robert Klein lives in Be'ersheva, Israel.
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