The cease-fire is dead. Long live the cease-fire!

Yousef Munayyer writes: The exchange of fire in the besieged Gaza strip between Israel’s powerful, first world military, which launched a ground invasion on July 17, and the rudimentary rockets of Palestinian militants has once again yielded an all too predictable outcome. As of July 18, more than 275 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed, and countless more have been injured. So far, there have been two Israeli fatalities.

We are familiar with how this is going to wind up. There will eventually be another shortsighted truce brokered by third parties. Toward that end, on July 17 representatives from Israel and Hamas along with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Mideast peace envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair met in Cairo to negotiate a comprehensive cease-fire.

However, it is important to understand that even the most durable cease-fire is but a Band-Aid on a situation whose underlying problems continue to go unaddressed. A truce is not a truce only when one side — the Palestinian militants — stops the violence, while Tel Aviv continues to perpetuate an entire system of violence against millions of people. The reality is, when the rockets stop, Israel’s military occupation, colonization and siege continues undeterred. As such, a cease-fire agreement alone is not enough. Third-party mediations may bring about a cease-fire agreement, but monitoring and enforcing its terms are far more important.

The failures of previous cease-fires provide instructive lessons to avoid a return of these horrific scenes months or years down the line. [Continue reading…]

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