The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Barely a week old, the peace deal in Gaza has added its own dimension to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This was apparent when Israelís defence minister, Ehud Barak, suddenly announced his resignation on Monday. Although the Hamas had almost been brought to its knees by Israelís ruthless defensive strategy and its Iron Dome system, the peace deal, quite frankly, has not gone in Israelís favour. The gains on the Palestinian side, strangely, outweigh those on the side of the undeclared victor in this mini-war. Despite the severe provocations, Palestinians have not only warded off what looked like an imminent land attack from Israel, but they have also wrested from it an assurance that its radical leaders will not be attacked. And all this apart from an unprecedented relaxation of movement across the borders. Israelís blockade of Gaza is still in effect, but its inexplicable flexibility on the issue of movement of men and goods has lent a feel-good element to the deal that has immediately boosted confidence levels on the opposing side. Naturally, the Benjamin Netanyahu government is unable to shield itself from charges of a sellout from its own political opponents. Thus, in spite of his firepower, Mr Netanyahu may not bolster his chances in the primaries that are to follow.

The concern of the world, however, is not Mr Netanyahuís political fortunes. It is whether the ceasefire will hold long enough for alternative peace efforts to be kickstarted. The concern is vital because once the ground in west Asia sinks under a prolonged onslaught from Israel, the chances of a full-fledged war are very real in a post-Arab Spring world that will bring powerful nations such as Egypt openly on Palestineís side. Unfortunately, the tumult in Egypt, which brokered the deal and is a guarantor of peace on the Palestinian side, has cast a long shadow in the region. This, coupled with the fact that Israel is still determined to fight tooth and nail against the Palestinian Authorityís bid to get observer status in the United Nations, makes the future uncertain. Given that Israel is intent on pushing for more settlements in Gaza and radical Palestinian groups, including the Hamas, are as sure of continuing with their smuggling of weapons through the underground tunnels with Egypt, the conflict seems to have been put on a short pause before the next flare up.