Saturday, August 02, 2014

UN/US cease-fire deal designed to fail

Of all the appalling things caused by the Jewish state's latest Gaza incursion it is easy to overlook the compromised role of the UN and how they have been used by US/Israel to promote a cease-fire agreement that was impossible to maintain, thus giving Israel an excuse to wage another round of attacks.

From yesterday in the Washington Post:
 Israel and Hamas began observing an unconditional, 72-hour humanitarian truce Friday morning [...]
In a joint statement, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said both sides in the conflict are sending delegations to Cairo for negotiations aimed at reaching a lasting cease-fire.
During the 72-hour respite [...] Israel will not withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip, a demand Hamas had previously made as a prerequisite to peace talks.
“As a response to the United Nations’ request and in consideration of our people’s situation, the Palestinian resistance factions have agreed to a humanitarian and mutual calm for 72 hours, starting from 8 a.m. tomorrow, as long as the other party is committed to it,” Sami Abu Zuhri said. “All the Palestinian factions have a unified attitude toward the issue in this regard.”
Earlier Thursday, Abu Zuhri had said that Palestinian factions, including Hamas, would head to Cairo as early as Friday for peace talks if the Israelis agreed to a cease-fire.
[...] Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N. undersecretary general for political affairs, said that although Israel had made no initial public statement on the cease-fire, “we have received assurances from all parties” that they will respect the pause. It was his understanding, Feltman told CNN, that “Israeli forces will stay where they are. What we want to see happen is for all fighting between the two sides to stop” to allow humanitarian aid deliveries, the gathering and burying of bodies, and a cessation of Palestinian shelling in Israel.
Kerry said both sides had agreed that during the pause, “neither side will advance beyond its current locations.”
[...] Kerry stressed Thursday that Israel may continue what he called defensive destruction of tunnels over the next three days.
[...] Underscoring the obstacles to ending the war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed before the truce announcement to destroy the tunnel networks “with or without a cease-fire” as the Israeli military called up 16,000 more reservists to bolster its offensive in Gaza.

“I won’t agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to complete this important task for the sake of Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv.
Do you see the inherent problem with this ceasefire agreement? And why it cannot possibly work?

While both sides are not to advance beyond their positions the fact is Palestinians have forces in tunnels underneath and behind Israeli lines and the Israelis say they will not stop destroying the tunnels.  Israel going into tunnels or destroying tunnels is advancing from their present positions and is a violation of the cease-fire... Except that John Kerry (according to the Washington Post above) reckons that is OK. It's not OK, it is a contradiction.

What happens when the IDF attacks a tunnel during this so-called cease-fire? As Bibi has vowed to do. The Hamas forces would have every right to defend themselves wouldn't they. Under John Kerry's logic the Israelis are free to attack the tunnels during the cease-fire but if the Hamas forces in the tunnels fight back they are breaking the cease-fire. You see what a sick joke this agreement is and why it is impossible to observe. It is an American deal, an Israeli-American deal. The UN is sanctioning a faulty agreement which demonstrates how faulty and compromised the UN is.

So I was not really surprised to wake up to this news... NY Times:
[...] two Israeli soldiers were killed and the militants apparently escaped with a third.
Israel said the attack, from under a house near the southern border town of Rafah, took place at 9:20 a.m., soon after the 8 a.m. onset of the temporary truce secured by the Obama administration and the United Nations, whose leaders squarely blamed the breakdown on Hamas.

Hamas’s account was confused. One leader was quoted claiming credit for the abduction, then backtracked. Others contended that the clash unfolded at 7 a.m., before the cease-fire, although Palestinian reports of fighting near Rafah came three hours later. And one said that in any case, the Hamas gunmen acted only to counter “Zionist incursions.”
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said the Givati force had been working to decommission a tunnel under a home inside Gaza more than an hour into the cease-fire when at least two Palestinians emerged from another shaft. “One came out shooting after the other one blew himself up,” Colonel Lerner said.
Israel sent text messages to area residents to remain in their homes as forces rushed farther into Rafah, bombarding it from the ground and air to block the captors’ escape.

Safa, a Gaza-based news agency that has run a live blog during the war, first reported artillery fire in Rafah at 9:55 a.m. The Health Ministry spokesman announced new fatalities there at 10:10 a.m. The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, issued a statement hours later, denying that the clash occurred after the cease-fire.
The escalation was strong and sustained, with reports in Rafah of airstrikes and heavy artillery shelling past midnight, as Israel’s top ministers met for hours to consider next steps. Colonel Lerner said the operation “now has three components, not two: it’s rockets, tunnels and an abduction now.”

The NY Times report is just so virrulently pro-Zionist I had to take chunks of propaganda out of those quotes. But what the IDF is saying is that they were in an operation against tunnelling at the time. And not surprisingly the group in the tunnel (which could have become cut-off) were only left with two options given they were under attack: either they defend themselves, or they attempt to surrender (which would have been dangerous). The terms of the cease-fire are just ridiculous. Trying to blame Hamas for this inevitable "violation" is spurious. And yet that is what John Kerry and his Korean side-kick are doing: using the impossible and contradictory terms of an American deal as the standard to which they hold the Palestinians.

NY Times:
Both Mr. Kerry and Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, demanded an immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli officer. Mr. Ban described the attack as “a grave violation of the cease-fire” that called “into question the credibility of Hamas’s assurances to the United Nations.”

On the contrary, Mr Ban, the agreement itself calls into question the credibility of the United Nations. To see the UN collude like this with the Americans so that Israel can scorch-earth a refugee camp and kill hundreds more civilians is disgraceful.

So the UN is all about negotiation until it comes to an Israeli POW in which case there is no negotiation at all! Hamas is supposed to surrender their prisoner immediately and unconditionally. When the negotiated release of a single Israeli POW (Gilad Shalit) was able to be traded for a thousand Palestinian POWs such a proposition is fanciful. The UN is not neutral in this conflict, they are behaving as agents for the US and Israel.

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