The Team
March 9, 2024

Why there's still no ceasefire in Gaza

Here are some figures highlighting the extensive destruction in Palestine. By the end of 2023, UNRWA estimates that 1.9 million people (85 per cent of the population), had been internally displaced.

In less than three months, the Israeli military carried out 22,000 strikes in Gaza, surpassing the 15,000 strikes conducted by the US-led coalition in Iraq between 2014 and 2017.

As of January 3, WHO reported that 23 out of 36 hospitals were completely inoperable. BBC's analysis indicates that between 144,000 and 175,000 buildings, comprising 50 per cent to 61 per cent of Gaza's structures, have been damaged or destroyed.

Since the commencement of the latest conflict, about 32,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel, including 12,660 children and 8,570 women. The World Food Programme warns of a potential famine in Gaza by May if a ceasefire is not achieved.

Given these atrocities, the question arises: why has the international community been unable to compel Israel to agree to a ceasefire? Let’s look at the details. 

Understanding current negotiations 

Ceasefire talks are ongoing in Paris, involving Israel, Hamas, Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, with the primary goal of ending the conflict and securing the release of hostages. Hamas awaits mediator outcomes in Cairo after concluding their own discussions. Mediators aim to prevent a potential Israeli assault on Rafah, where 1.5 million displaced individuals seek refuge.

Israel warns of an impending attack without a prompt truce, while the United States urges restraint, expressing concern about potential civilian casualties. The situation's complexity increases as Israel proposes a post-conflict plan emphasizing continued security control over Gaza, sparking debates about the Palestinian Authority's role.

Despite initial optimism, Hamas representatives, speaking to the Observer, report "no progress in the talks due to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s stubbornness."

The looming threat of a ground offensive in Rafah, the last shelter for Palestinians, arises as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces the cabinet's plan to convene next week. The purpose is to discuss and approve the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) plans for a ground offensive in Rafah. 

Israel issued an ultimatum to Hamas, stating that without the release of hostages by Ramadan, a ground offensive in Rafah would launch by March 10. Benny Gantz, a member of Israel's war cabinet, emphasizes, "The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know, if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue everywhere, including the Rafah area."

The USA plays a major role 

The United Nations security council (UNSC) serves as one of the six primary organs of the UN, with a primary responsibility for upholding global peace and security. The UNSC consists of 15 member countries, including five permanent members known as the "P5" — the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France. These P5 members hold the authority to veto any substantive resolution. So even if a resolution gets sufficient votes for approval, it can be blocked if any P5 nation casts a negative vote.

As one of the P5, the United States has used its veto power three times when the UNSC discussed resolutions for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The USA has stood alone in opposing a ceasefire resolution suggested by Algeria. This repeated use of the veto has sparked global criticism, with people accusing the USA of supporting the “mass punishment” and destruction of Palestine.

What does the future look like 

Twenty-six of 27 EU states, along with Arab nations, Russia, China, Iran, as well as religious institiutions such as mosques, churches, and synagogues, have called for a ceasefire. Despite over 30,000 being killed, a ceasefire remains elusive. Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu maintain the stance that halting the war means Hamas stays undefeated. At this rate, the entire population must vanish before these leaders are satisfied or Hamas is eradicated — or not at all.

The future looks bleak as self-interested politicians resist a ceasefire, benefiting from Gazans' suffering. Even after this war ends, questions persist: How will those responsible for 12,660 children's deaths be punished? Who will rebuild hospitals, schools, water resources, residential buildings, and more? Who will remove 700,000 illegal settlements from the occupied West Bank, or put an end to the last apartheid state?