In a post-cold war world, the crisis in the Middle-East (West Asia from this part of the world) is the one issue potent enough to polarize opinion across in the world and threaten world peace.
Here territorial conflict most often, if not always gets driven to religious interpretation. A breeding ground for fundamentalist thought and a rallying point for Islamic terrorists around the world. Would Islamic terrorism cease if the Middle-East crisis was sorted – that can only be wild guess, however that is not a topic for this post.
The region is once again in turmoil. Israel and Hamas are locked in another bloody war testing the patience of nations in the neighbourhood. As Hamas shoots missiles into Israeli territory, the Israeli Air Force has been pounding the Gaza Strip relentless under the campaign called Operation Pillar of Defense.
As civilian causalities keep rising, the international community is asking for restrain on both sides.
As the war continues, the agendas of both sides are straightforward. Although their objective is not to dismantle the Hamas regime in Gaza or to destroy its military capabilities; Israel wants to inflict substantial damage which would force Hamas to maintain long-term ceasefire among the sensitive border. Reports suggest that Hamas has increasingly allowed heavily armed terrorist groups in Gaza, such as the , to launch attacks on Israel.
The Hamas regime in Gaza on the other hand wants to stand up against Israel’s strong arm. Inflicting maximum damage and casualties on Israel will be proof that Hamas will not buckle before Israel’s superior military capabilities.
Previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas were resolved through Egyptian involvement asking both sides to refrain from opening fire as long as its adversary does the same. But that is too simplistic a formula for a complex geo-political issue. These calm periods (or tahdia in Arabic) have not lasted long. And in the past few months, despite Egyptian warnings, Hamas has targeted Israeli soldiers and military outposts along the border.
With a new regime in place, Egypt has been trying hard to balance its regional strategic objectives along with maintaining international acceptance for its actions. Indications by Hamas on Tuesday (November 20) suggested that Egypt had succeeded in brokering peace between the two warring side. However, Israel was quick to rebut the claim. An Israeli government spokesperson called the announcement of a ceasefire agreement by Hamas as “premature” and said that his country’s “military operations in Gaza, territory run by Hamas Islamists, would continue in parallel with diplomacy.”
Although, Egypt’s ability to broker a peace deal between the two-sides cannot be suspected, its capability to influence both side to sustain the ceasefire is doubtful. A deal therefore which can bring long-term peace to the Middle-East will require a fuller and genuine involvement of the original parties who created the conflict – the US and EU.
However, considering the history of conflict in the region (more particularly the lopsided approach of western powers) it is clear that Israel will cease to fire only at a time of its choosing.