Gaza Hostilities Renewed: New Mediation Efforts Needed

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 4 Dec 2023

René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

1 Dec 2023 – Today, with Hamas firing rockets into Tel Aviv and Israeli forces renewing airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, the “humanitarian pause” came to an end.

Martin Griffiths, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said:

“Over the past seven days, hostages were released, families were reunited, and more patients received some medical care.  The volume of aid into and across Gaza increased… Now, in a matter of hours, scores were reportedly killed and injured. Families were told to evacuate again. Hopes were dashed.  Almost two months into the fighting, the children, women, and men of Gaza are all terrified.  They have nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on.  They live surrounded by disease, destruction and death. This is unacceptable… We need the fighting to stop.”

Thus, we see the need for increased mediation among groups and governments to maintain international humanitarian law and human rights standards.  The taking of hostages is a violation of international humanitarian law.  So, the International Committee of the Red Cross which is the chief organization to maintain international humanitarian law was directly involved in the release of the hostages.  Many of the Palestinian persons in Israeli prisons have not had fair trials – in some cases no trials at all only administrative detention – in violation of international human rights provisions.

There is a need for more go-betweens, third-party mediators 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 nature of the enemy. There is a need to lessen misconceptions and exaggerated fears.  Small realistic steps must be taken on the long road to stable peace.

Currently, there are real dangers that the violence will increase on the frontier with Lebanon and in the West Bank area between Israeli settlers and Palestinians. An increasing number of people are being displaced, adding to the vast number of people uprooted in the Gaza Strip.

The pain and suffering already undergone should be an increased motivation for strong efforts for peace and justice.  The negotiations which led to the “pauses” and the exchanges were largely carried out by the representatives of a few governments, Qatar Egypt, USA.

There is a potential role for non-governmental efforts. We must cooperate on such possibilities by exchanging information and possible contacts.  There may be ways of increasing the non-governmental efforts of mediation through “pilot projects”. The times require strong and coordinated efforts.

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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.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 Dec 2023.

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