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Eyeless in Gaza with little prospect of peacekeepers

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7 December 2023, The Australian, Letters

Paul Kelly quotes US military strategist Eliot Cohen on the future of Gaza saying the Egyptians, the Saudis, the UAE, the EU, the US and even the Palestinian Authority don’t want it (“West must grapple with conflict of extinction”, 6/12).

Cohen’s right: there’s not a lot of customers for taking Gaza.

Who really wants to be the policemen there? But if there were any international force inserted after the war, the US would have to put real skin in the game.

The size of the force would have to be significant, somewhere around the 10,000-20,000 mark.

There’d be a clear end state, likely with strong support among the Gazans, provided it was accompanied by a direct peace dividend through reconstruction and relief support.

Another approach would be to cast a wider net for a force to Asia, perhaps with contributions from India, South Korea and Thailand.

It should be noted that the Multinational Force and Observers has Australian participation and is a longstanding presence in the Sinai, very close to Gaza.

If Egyptian agreement can be obtained, it would be convenient to use the existing MFO’s command, control, logistics and diplomatic framework to expand the mandate and facilities in support of an MFO that would be of the necessary scale and capabilities to support an international force.

The only alternative would be to leave the Israeli military in Gaza to get the stabilisation phase done after the war and hope the Palestinian Authority would work with them.

Anthony Bergin, Strategic Analysis Australia, ACT A personal addendum to Paul Kelly’s outstanding analysis of the Israel-Hamas war for anyone who doubts the existential threat posed by Hamas described by military strategist Eliot Cohen.

Beyond the horrors of October 7, the terror and internal displacement caused by ongoing rocket bombardments are not fully grasped by outsiders.

Friends from a swath of southern Israeli towns are still unable to go home. Relatives in the north are also evacuated from their towns, while their kids go to school in bomb shelters.

Israelis are fighting this war because they aren’t safe in their own homes while Hamas exists.

Kay, Bondi Junction, NSW


Paul Kelly’s article, so well reasoned, should be compulsory reading as we try as individuals to get a handle on the horrors of the war currently playing out in Gaza.

During World War II, the fearful destruction of Germany was not seen vividly every night, nor was the plight of the thousands of Jewish people and others being herded by Hitler’s obsession into death camps broadcast on television screens.

We were not exposed to the heart-wrenching sight of the destructive nature of war in the daily lives of individuals and populations on both sides of the conflict night after night.

What we were allowed to see and know about was selected and somewhat sanitised.

The conflict in Ukraine, which has been put on the backburner, in our consciousness is still as intense and will linger into the foreseeable future without resolution.

In past wars, since the beginning of time, conflicts have been resolved, so in these current conflicts we can only hope that after all the bloodletting and destruction a permanent and just solution can be devised and accepted and agreed on by all in the realisation that both aggressor and defender have the right to exist and prosper without endless aggression.

Stephanie Summers, North Turramurra, NSW


The tragic irony of the heading for chief international correspondent Cameron Stewart’s report (“ ‘Running out of credit’ as civilian deaths mount in Gaza”, 6/12) is inescapable.

Hamas’s “credit balance” is the two million Gazan citizens it “spends” in pursuit of its stated objective to annihilate Israel.

Israel is denounced for putting these lives at risk while defending its right to exist, and so it is deemed to be “running out of credit” to do so.

Until the Western nations, and the Arab ones too, can come up with a viable alternative to this use of Gazan civilians as obscene “currency”, Israel has no alternative but to pursue Hamas in its subterranean lairs at increasingly tragic cost.

Ron Spielman, Paddington, NSW

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Article source: The Australian | Letters | 7.12.23

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000