Hamas-Israelis: Is Mediation Possible?

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 23 Oct 2023

René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

19 Oct 2023 – As the Israeli-Hamas conflict intensifies amid growing frustration and anger in much of the Middle East, the situation looks as if it were on a downward spiral.   We see in this armed conflict between Israel and Hamas that in polarized situations of armed conflict and humanitarian crisis, there is a need for a go-between, a third-party mediator who can help to overcome barriers and to start negotiations. Mediation is an effort to change perceptions both of the nature of the conflict and of the enemy to the extent that both protagonists gain some hope of a reasonable resolution and so are more prepared to negotiate seriously. There is a need to lessen misconceptions and exaggerated fears and to find small realistic steps that can be taken on the long road to transcend a raging quarrel.

There are basically three sources of possible mediators.  One is the United Nations which has provided in some cases leadership opportunities.  However, a U.N. mediator can rarely use threats.  He has no funds to promise aid to back up his efforts and cannot call upon the type of resources that a national government has.  It was only in 2007 that the U.N. set up a Mediation Support Office.  Until then, U.N. staff had to be pulled from other U.N. work.  Seldom have U.N. mediators had offices on the ground constantly monitoring developments

A second source of mediators are national governments.  The “shuttle diplomacy” of Henry Kissinger in the Middle East is a classic example as is Richard Holbrook in the former-Yugoslavia conflicts.  National mediators can call upon a wide range of governmental resources. However, national governments have “national interests” and are not necessarily neutral or seen as neutral.  The Russian Federation, China and Egypt are possible governmental mediators in the Israel-Hamas conflict but all three have their own power interests.

The third source of mediators is the non-governmental sector.  The International Committee of the Red Cross has a recognized mandate to work in conflict situations to protect civilians and the conditions of prisoners of war.  There are also humanitarian aid organizations already present in the Gaza Strip, but they have fewer contacts on the Israeli side. It takes time to establish relationships with key decision makers who are in a position to change policies.

The first and probably most important step in mediation is analysis. The mediator needs to diagnose the situation to get a picture of what is possible, and an understanding of the social systems and political, economic, and cultural structures within which he must work. It is imperative for the mediator to study the parties, their interests and the issues to assess whether there is a real possibility to advance toward negotiations. In many armed conflicts there is often a struggle for power among different factions and personalities.  This may limit the space for agreement.  While there is now a “unity government” in Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are still separate bodies working in an atmosphere of suspicion. One does not know how relations between them will develop.

A mediator must try to keep lines of communication open between the primary parties and to reduce human suffering.  The protracted nature of many peace processes – with negotiations breaking down, followed by new attempts to settle conflicts, underlines the many difficulties of mediation.  For the moment, there seems to be little possibility for mediation in the Israel-Hamas conflict.  However, we must keep our eyes open as the non-governmental avenue may be the most likely for progress.

______________________________________

René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.


Tags: , , , , , ,

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 23 Oct 2023.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Hamas-Israelis: Is Mediation Possible?, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.


One Response to “Hamas-Israelis: Is Mediation Possible?”

  1. SAMIR SARDANA says:

    DEIF HOSTAGE STRATEGY HAS WORKED

    IT IS THE DUAL NATIONAL HOSTAGES WHOSE COUNTRIES HAVE FORCED THE IDF NOT TO MOVE INTO GAZA

    AFTER BIDEN VISIT,CAME THE 100 MILLION USD AID

    THEN THE 2 AMERICANS FREED

    THEN THE AID CONVOYS !

    THEN FOR THE 2 AMERICANS

    CAME 2 ISRAELI WOMEN !

    CHESS STRATEGEM !

    NOW IDF AIR STRIKES HAVE REDUCED !

    HAMAS HAS GOT AWAY, AND STILL HAS 200 HOSTAGES,AND I AM SURE THAT,SOME ARE KNESSET RELATIVES !

    IDF HAS NO INTEL ON THE HOSTAGES AT ALL !

    HOSTAGES FOR AID AND “FUEL” AND CEASEFIRE ! FUEL IS FOR HAMAS LOGISTICS AND ROCKETS ! IDF HAS NOT HIT EVEN 1 HAMAS FUEL DUMP ! THIS IS THE STATE OF MOSSAD !

    WHAT R THE SATS DONG ? HAMAS HAS SHOWN THE TRUE GENIUS OF THE PALESTINIANS AND PERSIANS ! THE COURAGE AND GENUS OF ESAU !

    IN SOME WAYS,HAMAS AND PALESTINIANS,HAVE PROVEN THAT THEY ARE A MASTER RACE AND HAVE DEFEATED THE CHOSEN RACE – AND ARE WORTHY OF A NATION !

    IF HAMAS CAN DEFEAT ISRAEL – THEY CAN EASILY RUN A NATION ! RUNNING A NATION IS EASY ! AS TALIBAN HAS SHOWN ! TALIBAN HAS NO SEA ! GAZA HAS A PORT ! DIRECT LINK TO EU !

    THE PRIZED HOSTAGES ARE STILL INTACT – IDF SOLDIERS,KNESSET RELATIVES AND AMERICANS AND EU CITIZENS AND THE YOUNG ISRAELIS !

    NOW IT IS A ROULETTE GAME AND DEIF IS THE CASINO AND THE WHEEL MAKER !

    IF HAMAS ARMS WEST BANK – WHAT WILL IDF DO ?

    ISRAEL – THE DREAM IS OVER ! dindooohindoo

Join the discussion!

We welcome debate and dissent, but personal — ad hominem — attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), abuse and defamatory language will not be tolerated. Nor will we tolerate attempts to deliberately disrupt discussions. We aim to maintain an inviting space to focus on intelligent interactions and debates.

× 2 = 10

Note: we try to save your comment in your browser when there are technical problems. Still, for long comments we recommend that you copy them somewhere else as a backup before you submit them.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.