Thursday, January 1, 2009

Green Party Finally Comments on War in Southern Israel

Here is the Green Party Statement:
In light of the serious escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza region and what appears to be an intractable political stand-off, the Green Party is calling for an immediate cessation of the violence and for leadership from "The Quartet" (U.S. Russia, E.U. , U.N.) to begin negotiations with all parties to establish a comprehensive stabilization plan and buffer zone around Gaza.

Already 1,400 people have been injured and 375 killed in Gaza and 5 in Israel by Israeli air-strikes and Hamas rockets and emergency services in Gaza are overwhelmed by the continuing violence. Children are especially vulnerable to the psychological terror of repeated air-strikes and rocket attacks. A recent Queen's University study has identified the children of Gaza - which comprise almost half the population of the territory - as heavily impacted psychologically by war trauma.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May commented, "It is time for political leaders in the region and from influential nations outside the region, to seriously collaborate in ending a tragedy that is a lose/lose proposition for everyone regardless of any perceived short-term gains.

Stage One of a Gaza Area Stabilization Plan would include:

1) An immediate end to all hostilities and the establishment of a sustainable cease-fire arrangement.

2) The deployment of U.N. Peace-Making forces within a Neutral Buffer Zone who assume the responsibility for ending missile attacks on Israel using a combination of political, policing and technical means and methods.

3) The establishment of a Green Economic Development Area and Agricultural/Water Research Institute at the Egyptian/Gaza border which would be developed in collaboration with the Egyptian government - initial stage would be on Egyptian side - and with long-term financial and technical support from the international community.

4) Increased support for primary and secondary education infrastructure and resources as well as significantly enhanced medical and psychological treatment capacity.

5) Re-open border crossing points under U.N. oversight to allow continuous access of humanitarian supplies into Gaza.

Green Party of Canada International Affairs Critic Eric Walton added "because of the intense and chronic nature of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict it is likely that a sustainable peace process will require a multi-track approach that simultaneously addresses state security, economic development, environmental protection and human security concerns."

The Green Party is trying to work around a practical solution while ignoring the issues of assigning blame, which could bog down the process. Economic sustainability is a must for securing any type of long term future for those who live in Gaza. While in theory the plan sounds nice it glosses over the most critical points.

Israel has attacked Hamas in response to constantly being under rocket fire. Even Egypt is demanding that Hamas stop the attacks. Hamas is on their own course and have no interest in what is best for the people they claim to represent. Is there any way to bring a sustainable ceasefire without a complete surrender by Hamas?

Israel has asked for international monitors for a ceasefire, instead of peace keepers. Israel wants the whole world to recognize that they are in compliance with whatever ceasefire arrangement that is made. They also want confirmation of any violations on the Palestinian side.

Peace keepers are not equipped to handle a situation where one size chooses to go to battle. In 1967 Egypt ordered them to leave and they did. UNIFIL patrolling Southern Lebanon did nothing to prevent war in 2006. Peace Keepers do not engage in battle. If Hamas or another terrorist group started firing rockets again they would be powerless to do anything.

As things stand now the end game is to oust Hamas from Gaza and allow the Fatah lead Palestinian Authority to retake control of Gaza. It will then be back to the drawing board as both sides consider what concessions they are willing to make in order to sustain a long lasting cease fire.

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