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Home » Key Element In Path To Peace Still Missing Six Months On From Start Of Gaza War

Key Element In Path To Peace Still Missing Six Months On From Start Of Gaza War

As we mark six months of the most brutal of conflicts in Gaza, a few thoughts.

First, we’re at the end of the most consequential of weeks in this bloody six-month period.

I say it with a great deal of hesitation and perhaps some naivety (given how many moments for hope have come and gone) but maybe there is a little sense of momentum right now.

After the killing of foreign aid workers, it’s been a week in which American influence seemed finally to have a humanitarian impact.

After a call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli government announced it would open Ashdod port for the delivery of aid.

It also said a key northern border crossing to Gaza, Erez, would open.

Then came the announcement that Israeli troops would pull out of southern Gaza, leaving just one battalion inside the strip.

Image: Palestinians ride bicycles past ruined homes in the northern Gaza Strip. Pic: Reuters

Image: Pic: Reuters The White House spokesman, John Kirby, says this is a temporary “rest & refit” for the soldiers but also says he doesn’t believe it’s the prelude for a new offensive.

Some reporting from Israel suggests the IDF might be shifting to targeted anti-terror operations over large ground offensives.

Israeli negotiators have also gone back to the table in Cairo, reportedly with a new mandate for hostage/ceasefire talks. The CIA director, the prime minister of Qatar and the Egyptian spy boss are also there.

Could all this amount to a moment for the guns to fall silent, the hostages to come home and a flood of aid to get in?

Well, many of us have wondered this before over the past six months and we’ve been wrong.

Image: Israelis have renewed calls for more action to free hostages taken by Hamas. Pic: Reuters Read more:
Israel withdraws almost all troops from southern Gaza
Why Israel pulled out troops – and what could happen now

My second observation?

Well, in all of this, a key piece of the path to peace is still totally absent.

Who will have authority in Gaza? Who governs Gaza? A UN blue beret force? An Arab peacekeeping mission? Palestinian leaders? But which ones?

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Inside hospital after Israeli raid Six months of war and the ‘day after’ is, just maybe, getting closer.

But no one has any sense of what it looks like. That represents profound political failure and a damning absence of American leadership.

A final thought as we mark six months of this bloodiest of chapters in a decades-long conflict: Remember that international reporters have been prevented from entering Gaza (except on short, restricted military facilities) by Israel and by Egypt since the start.

The reporting has come from a dwindling number of remarkable Palestinians journalists who can’t rest.

At a moment of profound importance, where modern state-led warfare has been redefined, eyewitness journalism has been intentionally restricted.