Pressure builds on Israel to ditch Rafah offensive as ministers gather in Munich - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15304533
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Western leaders are hoping a round of meetings at a security conference in Munich will put overwhelming pressure on Israel not to press ahead with a ground offensive in Rafah.

Almost all the key figures, save the Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, will be present in Munich on Friday, including foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan. The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, and foreign minister, Israel Katz, will also attend along with three freed hostages, Raz Ben Ami, Adi Shoham and Aviva Siegel. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, is flying in too.

The pressure on Israel to avoid a ground offensive is coming from almost all quarters, including allies such as the US, UK, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The shadow of a return to the international court of justice and a further Algerian-sponsored UN security council resolution is looming over Israel.

Since Tuesday, Egypt has hosted representatives from the US, Israel’s main supporter, and Qatar, where the Hamas political leadership is based, for talks about a lengthy truce, including the release of more hostages. No breakthrough has been achieved.

Separate, more clandestine, talks are under way to see if Hamas can form a “national consensus government” with the Fatah movement led by the Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Western capitals fear that if Hamas and Israel cannot agree on a pause within days, the Israeli and Hezbollah attacks in Lebanon will escalate, making it difficult for Hamas and Israel to return to the negotiating table.

Hamas is no longer holding out for a permanent ceasefire, but wants a six-week humanitarian pause leading to a ceasefire. Extraneous elements in the original Hamas peace plan, including the future policing of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, will have to be ditched.

Arab leaders have been reluctant to create a group that formalises multilateral contacts with western countries over the Gaza crisis, including discussions of future governance of Gaza, preferring to hold talks with the US bilaterally. It is not clear, as a result, in what format talks will take place in Munich.

Abbas on Wednesday urged Hamas to “quickly conclude an agreement with Israel” to protect the Palestinian people from “the repercussions of another catastrophe, no less dangerous than the 1948 Nakba”. Hamas is seeking complex guarantees that the ceasefire or pause will be observed by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

There has also been talk among western diplomats about setting up some sort of international security force with an Arab contingent to enter Gaza after a ceasefire.

Israel is opposed to handing security to a third party in Gaza, as well as to a two-state solution. Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the most important power that had to remain in Israel’s hands was “overriding security control” in the area west of the River Jordan.

Rightwingers in the Israeli government reiterated their total opposition to a Palestinian state.

The UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, has led the west’s call for a Palestinian state to be recognised before the end of the talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The US has said it is reviewing its recognition policy, and Germany broadly supports Lord Cameron’s initiative.

Blinken, in his most recent visit to the region, called for “a practical, time-bound, irreversible path to a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel”. He added: “It’s coming ever more sharply into focus.”

But US recognition of Palestine, a huge step to take, would require the PA to do more to revitalise its democracy, including Abbas handing greater power to the prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh. At the end of January, Shtayyeh announced a comprehensive reform programme, including appointing new regional governors, after Abbas sacked 12 in August without giving a reason. However, the programme, including greater independence for the judiciary, lacks any implementation mechanism, including an elected parliament.

The most secret and potentially critical element of the discussion is the possibility of a rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah under the umbrella of the PLO. Talks have repeatedly foundered in the past because the Hamas charter does not recognise Israel. Qatar, apparently, has tried to convince the Hamas leadership it needs to allow a new and unified technocratic leadership to rule Gaza and the West Bank the day after, with elections held at a later date. Iranian sources say Tehran is not opposed to this, a message relayed to the UK Foreign Office.

Some western countries, including the UK, insist Hamas cannot remain in power and the leadership must be exiled to reassure Israel its security will be defended. At the same time, UK officials acknowledge Hamas is more than a military force.

The head of UN humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, said it would be difficult to imagine a peace deal that excluded Hamas.

Abbas, in an interview with the Arabic international paper Asharq Al-Awsat, said the PA would be ready to govern Gaza “immediately upon cessation of aggression against our people”.

He added that peace was dependent on recognition of Palestinian statehood secured through full UN membership, and that an international peace conference would be needed to provide guarantees and a timeline detailing the end of Israel’s occupation.


Not the kind of article you would be seeing if Israel was fighting a defensive war. It's become so clear to the world that what Israel is doing is, at the very least, a series of war crimes. But as most recognize: it's committing genocide against the people of Palestine.
#15304550
If Israel was committing genocide, it would not wait to attack Rafah.

Netanyahu ordered the IDF to come up with a plan to allow for the evacuation of the civilians in Rafah so it doesn't seem like the offensive is imminent. Hamas on the other hand rejected a plan to release the hostages in exchange of some 1500 prisoners so, although Hamas has dropped some of its most ridiculous demands, a ceasefire seems to still be beyond reach.

I think Netanyahu is in no rush to start an offensive and end the war, since ending the war would lead to an election and he can't afford that. A ceasefire in which Hamas and the PIJ agree to exile all the remaining members of their armed wings from Gaza to Algeria or some other Arab country would be seen as a victory for Israel, but I don't think it would allow Netanyahu to survive (as many would see this as the IDF's achievement, not his) even though it seems like the easiest way to end the war.

Then the inevitable Israeli election would be largely centered on what happens with Gaza after the war and it is the electorate who would be tasked to make a choice of Israel's position regarding the post-war Gaza arrangements.
#15304574
I think that it's becoming apparent that Israel , under the Netanyahu administration , hasn't been acting in good faith , when it comes to securing a fair and peaceful settlement of the conflict . And , for what it's worth , even such allies as the U.S. Secretary of State , Antony Blinken , and Fmr. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , David Cameron , have come to realize that the Israeli government has been stonewalling any sincere attempt at reaching a resolution . At this point , short of a literal Armageddon , which both the Christians and the Muslims believe will herald the return of Jesus Christ / Isa al Masih , I don't see how this situation can conceivably end up . I actually feel that having everyone from Islamists to Christian Zionists sharing similar eschatology , only differing on what significant role the Jews and their Holy Land have to play in all this , has lead to becoming a self fulfilled prophesy . https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/islam-armageddon-end-times/ , https://greatislam.org/malhama-al-kubra-armageddon/ , https://www.npr.org/2023/04/03/1167715957/armageddon-shows-how-literal-readings-of-the-bibles-end-times-affect-modern-time
#15304623
wat0n wrote:If Israel was committing genocide, it would not wait to attack Rafah.


Firstly, as has been pointed out above, it hasn't waited: it's attacking.

Secondly, this just doesn't follow. Genocides aren't a single day event, they go on over a period of time. For example the genocide that we're seeing happen against the people of Palestine has been going on for months now.

Netanyahu ordered the IDF to come up with a plan to allow for the evacuation of the civilians in Rafah so it doesn't seem like the offensive is imminent. Hamas on the other hand rejected a plan to release the hostages in exchange of some 1500 prisoners so, although Hamas has dropped some of its most ridiculous demands, a ceasefire seems to still be beyond reach.


Forced population displacement can be a component of genocide.
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KurtFF8 wrote:Firstly, as has been pointed out above, it hasn't waited: it's attacking.


Not a massively so or trying to take Rafah.

KurtFF8 wrote:Secondly, this just doesn't follow. Genocides aren't a single day event, they go on over a period of time. For example the genocide that we're seeing happen against the people of Palestine has been going on for months now.


Indeed, the war Hamas and the other Palestinian armed groups started is still ongoing. So?

KurtFF8 wrote:Forced population displacement can be a component of genocide.


Sure, if they were to be sent to concentration camps. That's not really the case here.
#15304630
wat0n wrote:Not a massively so or trying to take Rafah.


They're very openly gearing up to take the whole of Rafah. So much so that even the West is trying to halt it.

Indeed, the war Hamas and the other Palestinian armed groups started is still ongoing. So?


How does this make what Israel is doing any less of a genocide?

Sure, if they were to be sent to concentration camps. That's not really the case here.


Mass murder on a wide scale is what makes something a genocide, not the method of the genocide. Just because Israel doesn't specifically have death camps doesn't mean that they aren't engaged in a genocide.
#15304631
KurtFF8 wrote:They're very openly gearing up to take the whole of Rafah. So much so that even the West is trying to halt it.


Sure, but they haven't. And they haven't, because Netanyahu agreed to a plan to allow civilians out.

This is not, of course, because he's a good guy. Less civilians will make the battle a lot easier for Israel.

KurtFF8 wrote:How does this make what Israel is doing any less of a genocide?


Perhaps you should prove it's a genocide to begin with.

At least the war wasn't planned by Israel, given how it started.

KurtFF8 wrote:Mass murder on a wide scale is what makes something a genocide, not the method of the genocide. Just because Israel doesn't specifically have death camps doesn't mean that they aren't engaged in a genocide.


No, "mass murder at a wide scale" is not what makes a genocide. Communists also don't want this to be the definition of genocide, since they're so adept at mass murder at a wide scale anyway.

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