WashCo Dems op-ed article

OP-ED: Gaza Needs To Become A U.N. Protectorate

by Walt Hellman

Who could fail to be moved and terribly upset by the daily enormous suffering of Gaza civilians given Israel’s response to the October 7 terror attacks?   Many cease fire resolutions are being proposed and adopted in response to this understandable distress.

The cease fire resolutions are genuinely well-intentioned but, unfortunately, likely to do more harm than good.  They are likely to increase the suffering and death of Gaza civilians rather than decrease it.

The problems include:

  • Israel is not going to agree to any cease fire until it achieves its objectives of wiping out Hamas and its military/terrorist capabilities.  It rightly feels Hamas is an existential threat given Hamas’s fundamental mission to destroy Israel.  Israel cannot exist in peace while Hamas exists.
  • World pressure, including ours, for a cease fire is only causing Israel to accelerate its already ferocious attacks on Hamas and Gaza.  It realizes it can end the conflict and pressure for a cease fire by winning its objectives more quickly.  We have seen this already with the marked increase of the intensity of Israel’s military operations in Gaza.
  • This increase of intensity and speed in Israel’s attack will likely make it less careful to avoid civilian casualties.  There will be and are more and more of these casualties, not to mention the increased suffering due to displacement.

There is a second important reason why a cease fire resolution does more harm than good.  It achieves Hamas’s goal of continuing to exist as a terrorist organization.  It is on the verge of elimination by Israel.  Its leaders are being assassinated. A cease fire is a way out for them.

What must be realized is that Hamas has employed an intentional strategy of getting Gaza’s civilians killed by Israel in order to gain world sympathy and result in precisely the type of cease fire resolutions that are being proposed, including that in the U.N.

There is overwhelming evidence that Hamas is massively sacrificing its own civilians for its fundamentalist cause.  The strongest example of this evidence is in the Oct. 7 attack itself.  We now know that this attack was planned over a two-year period.  It was designed not to attack military targets but to do the most outrageous and horrible acts of terrorist kidnapping, killing and raping possible, while filming all of it.  Hamas had to know that Israel’s response would be overwhelming and violent, as it was in Lebanon after the Hezbollah attacks years earlier.

What preparations did Hamas do to protect civilians from Israel’s certain violent response?  Did it prepare bomb shelters, food, fuel, etc.?  It did nothing.  Instead, when the attacks came, unlike any normal civilized country where the civilians go into bomb shelters while the army fights up above, Hamas stayed in its tunnels and left civilians 100% exposed to Israel’s predictable violent response.  This remains the case two months into the war.

Further, U.S. intelligence confirmed that Hamas is using civilian infrastructure including hospitals and schools to hide its military supplies.  Israel knows of these locations and in attacking them, civilian casualties and deaths soar.

Hamas knows it cannot beat Israel militarily, but it can beat Israel if it turns the whole world against it.  As incredulous as we might be in learning of it, Hamas is getting its civilians killed and its territory bombed into oblivion, in order to gain world sympathy for its terrorist cause of eliminating Israel.  Calling for a cease fire, ensuring the continued survival of Hamas, works right into their plan.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is intractable.  Israel will not stop its war until it completely takes over Gaza.  As so many people have pointed out, there is no good answer to the “What’s next?” question.  Israel’s reoccupation of Gaza will be a disaster.  Grief stricken people will remain hostile.  New terrorist groups will arise.  More death and misery will continue without limit.

The only real solution to this problem is to eliminate the presence of both Israel and Hamas in Gaza.  This can best be accomplished by the entering into Gaza of a U.N. peace keeping force to occupy and govern Gaza while negotiations proceed for the enactment of a two-state solution.  The peace keeping force needs to include units from Arab countries to help assure that Hamas will not resist the force.  Gaza needs to become a protectorate of the U.N. pending the creation of the two peaceful states, no matter how long this takes.  The advantages of this action include:

  • the bombing of Gaza will stop and Israel will need to withdraw all its forces
  • real relief and rebuilding of Gaza can seriously get under way without a war going on
  • release of the hostages becomes a U.N. responsibility and more likely to succeed
  • with the war stopped, Israel can finally hold elections and likely depose Netanyahu who has been a principal obstacle to the needed two state solution.  Gazans similarly can start creating a government that will work towards a lasting peace, free of Hamas and its authoritarian control.

With cease fire resolutions being considered in many places I think it is useful to have a draft statement to provide the alternative of the U.N. protectorate role.  Here is such a draft:

Given intractable differences between Israel and Hamas and no hope of any successful negotiations between them to end the suffering in Gaza, we demand that the United Nations immediately authorize the creation of an emergency international peace keeping force, including Arab nations.  This force should have as its prime objective entering, occupying and governing Gaza to create a U.N. protectorate and allow negotiations for a two state solution.

The madness in Gaza must stop.  A U.N. protectorate has the best chance of achieving that goal.

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