Hamas, if taken at their word, rejects any permanent ceasefire with the Israelis. So even the efforts of France and Egypt are successful in creating a temporary ceasefire between Hamas and Israel; how exactly will it be the world will not one day be watching the IDF in action and scores of Palestinians suffering more than a human heart should know in another six months, a year or 18 months?
International monitors on the borders of Israel, Gaza and Egypt? Actually, this has been tried, and whenever things got hairy in a confrontational way, the EU Observer team routinely fled to Israel for safety. Egyptian forces have been increasingly coming under fire from not just "Hamas" but their own Bedouin tribesmen whenever Egypt has tried to interfere in the lucrative Bedouin weapons trade with Hamas. The current situation would not be possible without the general inadequacy and incompetence of the Egyptian Security Forces, and if nothing else, should prove the Egyptians are in way over their heads. While it is easy to cast motes in Egypt's eye, even first world nations in similar situations, have found it difficult to maintain order with determined gangsterism – just think US/Mexico border for starts.
Retired Canadian General Lewis MacKenzie has an opinion piece in yesterday's Globe and Mail outlining the need for a UN force with a strong Chapter 7 mandate.
On their own, Israel and Hamas are doomed to a perpetual state of war no matter how much international diplomatic horsepower is applied to resolving the conflict. But there is a solution that the world has been adroitly avoiding for 40 years.
Israel deserves security. Its population is prepared to live in peace with its neighbours providing they aren't dedicated to its extermination. If Israel deals with the threat from Hamas on its own, the situation will not improve over the long term - Hamas will simply resuscitate itself and carry on with its terrorist actions against Israel. The Security Council needs to show some rare backbone and authorize a strong UN force under the UN Charter's Chapter 7, which authorizes the use of deadly force as necessary, and deploy it within the Gaza Strip, taking on the responsibility to provide the security to which Israel is entitled.
The force would need to be strong enough to interdict weapons smuggling by sea, land (including by tunnel) and air from outside sources, to eliminate rocket attacks on Israel, to stop suicide bombers through use of border controls and, most important, to be strong enough militarily to take on Hamas if need be. The oft-expressed idea of putting international monitors into the Gaza Strip to control smuggling and the firing of rockets is ludicrous: Hamas would run rings around any unarmed outsiders whose only mandate was to "observe and report." Such monitors wouldn't even qualify as yet another Band-Aid solution.
The idea of an 'observe and report' mission is absolutely asinine. If a rocket falls in Sderot, we all know it. No one needs a UN mission to count rockets and report, and to what purpose would an 'observe and report' mission be - when it happened to stumble upon a rocket launching or an arms cache destined for Hamas? Report it to the UN and ask for direction? Shades of Rwanda and a big hairy so what if it did? It would not change the ultimate or logical outcome.
MacKenzie is right. The only international force worth its salt would need a strong Chapter 7 mandate to militarily engage and actively pursue those 'militant' Palestinian fractions who wish to circumvent or undermine the 'ceasefire' at a time of their choosing.
But even a Chapter 7 mandate security force does not even begin to address the most crucial of Palestinian aspirations, and would ultimately be doomed to failure - if a strong civilian administration authority is not put in charge to oversee matters of daily governance. Turning control back over to Hamas, who is ultimately responsible for bringing the Gaza Strip to this bloody abyss, or even (G-d forbid) to the Palestinian Authority - which has proved itself a thousand times over as utterly incapable of governing the Gaza Strip with any measurable standard of responsible government, is to perpetuate the cycle of violence indefinitely.
Ordinary Palestinians are held in bondage and shackled to high terror thuggery practised by Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other sundry 'resistance' based gangsterism. The Palestinian people have shown the world time and time again they are impotent to change the cycle of violence by themselves...which is Arafat's true legacy to the Palestinian people, so if we won't help – who will?
The only other viable alternative is for the Israelis to annex the Gaza Strip and rebuild the settlements, and for a nation accused regularly of being colonizers; there is definite reluctance to do just that.