Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Northern Ireland peace process template applies in Gaza - where both Palestinians and Israelis need to decommission

Seen from Gaza City, smoke and flames rise from Gaza's electricity distribution company plant after it was hit by Israeli strikes in the Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip,Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Seen from Gaza City, smoke and flames rise from Gaza's electricity distribution company plant after it was hit by Israeli strikes in the Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip,Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Smoke rises from the offices of the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, shortly after was hit and destroyed by an Israeli strike, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke rises from the offices of the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, shortly after was hit and destroyed by an Israeli strike, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Police officers stand in red paint which was thrown during a rally outside the Israeli Embassy to oppose Israel's actions in Gaza on July 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
Police officers stand in red paint which was thrown during a rally outside the Israeli Embassy to oppose Israel's actions in Gaza on July 19, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Saturday was the seventeenth anniversary of the IRA cessation in 1997. From it emerged sustained dialogue and inclusive negotiations. Once these were embraced by all sides, Irish society moved irreversibly away from conflict.

The next day, Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert spoke in heart wrenching terms from Gaza.  He said: "This is a genocide. This is a massacre. Israeli impunity has gone so far… they don’t consider Palestinians even human according to how they treat them now.”

Currently almost 700 Palestinians are dead - 25% of them children, four thousand have been injured, 101,000 are in UN shelters. Gaza’s population is 1.8 million

The image and reality of the carnage against Palestinians is unbelievable. The four Bakr children killed on the beach: 28 members of one family, including a baby massacred only days ago.

The long term humanitarian effects are unimaginable. Chris Gunness, UN spokesperson has told RTE radio that 25% of Palestinian children in Gaza are deep in trauma.

Israel’s assault is absolutely barbaric, disproportionate and dehumanising.

Another immediate international atrocity occurred when Flight MH17 was blown up over Ukraine by Russian backed militias, killing 298 passengers: 80 were children.

In contrast to the Gaza crisis, international reaction has been correctly resolute.  President Obama demanded that the Russians resolve hostilities in a way respecting Ukraine sovereignty and the rights of its people. David Cameron has urged European economic sanctions against Russia’s aggression. 

The corollary of their positions should be to support robust diplomatic sanctions against Israel until it unambiguously commits to binding negotiations, based upon an acceptance of the Palestinian people’s right to their own state, alongside Israel – the two-state solution.

Without even-handed, strategic intervention and enforcement of (and compliance with) UN resolutions and international law, the cycle of violence against Gaza, and indefensible attacks on Israel will continue.

The Irish Peace Process worked because all sides stopped armed actions, agreed to negotiations, implemented full demilitarisation, and embraced conflict resolution. This approach is urgently required in the Middle East. It applies equally to Palestinian and Israeli military organisations.

Earlier this week Sinn Féin called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

Intensified international pressure is required to end the Israeli occupation and bombardment.

No more Palestinian children should die because of Israeli violence, nor should any Israeli children live in fear.

The Irish Peace Process is a proven template.  Introducing a comprehensive military cessation, beginning inclusive negotiations and making democratic compromises, should be the uncompromising message from Obama, Cameron and Kenny.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk