Wednesday, January 26

Ceasefire in Gaza: War was not a strategy | Opinion

A man looks at the rubble of a building destroyed by the bombing in Gaza.
A man looks at the rubble of a building destroyed by the bombing in Gaza.Khalil Hamra / AP

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Maintaining the ceasefire is the objective, modest but essential. We will have to count on the inevitable provocations, in the West Bank by settlers, and in Israel with clashes between extremists from both sides. The feat will last and allow the reconstruction of Gaza. That alone, which is very little, is the first success of Joe Biden’s diplomacy.

The war has lasted 11 days, but it could last many more and leave even more dead and wounded as happened in previous battles. The new White House displayed its best skills to get the guns to shut up without Benjamin Netanyahu being able to play the offended and reject the injunction. He recognized Israel’s right to defend itself, a sovereign principle that is not easily understood in progressive ranks. At the same time, he began a subtle verbal escalation, first calling for a ceasefire without a specific date, and then indicating the advisability of reducing the level of hostilities. The ground offensive, the action that would have produced the most damage and victims, was avoided. The president spoke six times with Netanyahu, until he convinced him that continuing the fighting would solve nothing. He never publicly demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Many are the disturbing data that the landscape offers after the battle. The most, the civil confrontation, properly ethnic, between Palestinians and Jews in Israeli territory. It shows the connection between all Palestinians and the impossibility of encapsulating the conflict in Gaza. It constitutes a stimulus for the reunion between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. An efficient autonomous war industry has developed in Gaza, using dual-use materials and without the need for Iranian aid to manufacture the missiles. The eclipse or irrelevance of the Palestinian cause has not occurred. Hamas, despite its military losses, has emerged politically reinforced. Also the Palestinian Authority, once again distinguished as an interlocutor by the United States and the most likely manager of aid for reconstruction. Netanyahu wants to go to the polls again, the fifth in two years, knowing the benefit he will get from a war in which he declares himself the winner. Winning elections and time is your only strategy. This is how colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to grow, with the bullet in the breech of returning to the cycle of war every four to five years. No one knows what happens next or where Israel is going. The Palestinians will still be there. Peace across the two states was the only strategy, but Netanyahu’s program was to destroy it. He has not succeeded. As unlikely as it may be, peace has returned to the order of the day, thanks to the principle exhibited by the White House: the rights and well-being of all, Israelis and Palestinians, must be guaranteed.

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