Gaza's Crumbling Ceasefire: A Reaction

(Editor's Note: This post was written before the recent attacks that threaten to resume the all-out battles that began in Gaza in December of 2008.)

by Melissa Mahfouz

Special to iVoryTowerz

The past month watching Gaza has felt like an incessant chess game: out-strategize the opponent; utilize semantics; and the ends will ultimately justify the means. The so-called "conflict" in Gaza (which is a complete understatement to what has ensued over the course of a few weeks), has taken a devastatingly severe toll, although disproportionately. What is particularly disturbing about the course of events is how drastically the situation has evolved: from the ground Israeli military campaign staged against Palestine's extremists, to the speculation of Fatah agents spying against their Hamas counterparts.

It is blatantly apparent to any individual mildly familiar with the situation that the Middle East is in complete and utter disarray. Gaza is serving as a microcosm of not only the disenfranchisement of the Arab world, but of the necessity for a coherent and definitive stance on what must be done. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has led the Arab diplomatic initiative, perhaps as a means of preventing the chaos from diffusing into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that borders Israel. France's Nicolas Sarkozy has also been a catalyst behind the European Union's involvement. However, the EU is lacking any meaty substance in its initiatives. The newly installed Obama administration is already providing a glimmer of hope, with emphasis being placed on multilateral talks, however real action is needed as opposed to the sugar-coated, flimsy nature of past efforts to bring peace to the region.

Over the course of a mere month, the death toll has totaled about 1,300, with a clear, majority being Palestinian casualties. Regardless of one's political and ideological orientation, it can be agreed upon that unnecessary violence continues to ensue, on what seems to be a never-ending cyclical basis. I recently attended a vigil held at American University for victims of the conflict, and doing so humanized the warring. Soundbites and footage from the BBC and other news syndicates can only portray so much, and never in a million years would I have believed that a mere silent reflection would provide more comfort than words of hatred and frustrated screams. What is gravely needed now is a re-assessment of the value of life. No human being ought to be evaluated as a mere statistic, and once such egalitarianism is established, perhaps today's global citizenry will realize the futility of unabated fighting. One can only hope.

(The photo of a column of Israeli armor assembling on the border with Gaza in December of 2008 is by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi of Berlin, Germany via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)

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