Jaw, jaw has failed, now is it war, war?

So, another middle-east peace initiative bites the dust. Jaw, jaw has failed again, is it to be war, war …again? There is now a very strong possibility that there will be another war in 2011. This time the stakes will be even higher. Since 2009, Syria and Iran have been arming Hizbullah and Hamas in Lebanon with longer range missiles. If the balloon goes up it’s going to be a very different war. This time there are going to be more Israeli civilian casualties than before. For the first time the effects of war will be brought home to civilians deep in the heart of Israel.

Israel will react strongly and deliver a disproportionate response if this happens, but when the dust settles it will be inconclusive as before, but will the average Israeli have less of an appetite for conflict? Will a war in 2011 make Israel more likely to want a settlement? Will public opinion turn against the hard right? Well, it might, but then it might not. Ten years from now we could be exactly where we are now. There is every likelihood that nothing will change.

America seems unwilling, if not unable, to turn the screw on Israel. The Israeli lobby has such a grip in the US that it’s difficult to see how Congress would ever agree to instigate measures that would pressure Israel to reach a settlement. In fact the Israeli lobby has been so successful that it has convinced too many Americans that to be anti-Israel is anti-American.  

So what to do? Should ‘the world’ continue to do nothing while countless thousands live in misery, their lives blighted by myopic, incompetent politicians? Why should we tolerate more jaw, jaw and stand idly by while pointless war destroys all?  Isn’t it time that there was talk about imposing a settlement on all parties?

Imposing a settlement may seem an impossible task, but wouldn’t it help if the dynamics in the region were changed? For example, what if the UN took control of Gaza, effectively making it a UN protectorate? It could open the port of Gaza, the airport, and allow the region to function normally, free of Israeli controls. This would not only bring the suffering of the people of Gaza to an end, but change the dynamics of future negotiations. It would also indicate that the world means business. The Palestinians have threatened to bypass the Americans and take their case directly to the UN. They should do just that.  

‘The world’ needs to show some resolve in bringing the Israel / Palestine issue to a successful conclusion. The time has come to demonstrate that resolve – without endless jaw, jaw.

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