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At the time of writing this Israel and Gaza have declared a ceasefire. By the time this article has been published this may no longer be the case. Already there are reports on Twitter that rockets are being fired out of Gaza. How long the ceasefire will last, we do not know. However, unless further steps are taken both groups will be at war again soon.
On the 20th peace talks were held in Egypt, with the press saying that a truce deal was to be announced later that day. That time never came however. Talks were resumed on the 21st and it was announced by Hilary Clinton and Mohamed Morsi. Following the announcement there were celebration’s in Gaza, where civilians are celebrating surviving the conflict. While in Israel there were protests with Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to agree to a ceasefire proving to be very unpopular.
While a ceasefire has been called by both sides, it is not be enough. This is simply a calm in the fighting while both parties attempt to reach a longer agreement. Until such an agreement could be reached any ceasefire will be short lived and it is likely we will soon find ourselves in exactly the same position again.
What is needed now is a way to stop this completely. No half measures.
Simply agreeing to a ceasefire and hoping that this time it lasts will not work. For a few years, maybe more, the peace would last, the amount of rockets fired by both sides would die down, for a while. But all that would happen is that both sides would quietly lick their wounds and restock their armories. Then another event would stoke the embers and cause all the old tension and anger to rise up again. Then we would find ourselves in the exact same position yet again.
Hamas have been firing rockets at Israel for over 10 years. The Israel Defense Forces has entered Gaza already with Operations Summer Rains and Cast Lead. If, like last time a ceasefire is announced, and nothing more, then both these things will happen again. These two groups are locked in a perpetual war that can only fully end if one of them was to be totally destroyed, or if they were to compromise and sort out their disputes over the region.
Which way would we rather the endless fighting end? With the destruction of Hamas or Israel? Obviously this way would result in many more people dying, soldiers and civilians. It would also take a very long time to happen. Already this war has gone on for years with no end in sight. Hamas are not strong enough to wipe out Israel, much as they might wish to. While Israel have the military strength to wipe out Hamas, they can not do so without angering the international community and possibly dragging other countries into the conflict.
But if an agreement could be made where both groups were happy, perhaps if Jerusalem was to be made an International city, with independent Jewish and Arab states established like was proposed many years ago. Then finally this war between Hamas and Israel could end properly, rather than endlessly going on punctuated with the occasional short lived ceasefire.