Mgr Marcuzzo praised Egypt and Jordan for their mediation in achieving a fragile truce in the Gaza Strip. The two sides are far apart and violence has become a regular occurrence. The UN Security Council is paralysed. For Israeli expert, Hamas sought to capture Israeli soldiers as bargaining chip.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The truce between Hamas and Israel is the fruit of Egyptian and Jordanian mediation. Fortunately, the two countries acted quickly to de-escalate the situation in the face of an absent international community, said Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, patriarchal vicar of Jerusalem.
Speaking about the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, after days of violence in the Gaza Strip, he noted that at present, “we do not see any forward-looking vision" to achieve a "lasting peace".
The two sides are diametrically opposed, and violence is "unfortunately, a regular occurrence". They "fight, then accept a truce to reorganise, bury the dead, and then resume the fight,” the clergyman noted.
Now, "we can no longer speak of a peace process", but of a difficult truce "that is not enforced. We fight each other, then we stop for a while, then start again ... We lack a long-term vision."
Yesterday, Egypt got Hamas and Israel to agree to a ceasefire, stopping violence after only two days of fighting, a first.
People in southern Israel have come out of the shelters, after being holed up as a result of rockets fired from Gaza, which began falling last Sunday.
However, the end of hostilities was greeted differently depending on which side of the border people were. In the Strip, people celebrated “the victory over Israel". In southern Israel residents were angered by the end of the military action.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council met yesterday behind closed doors to discuss the escalation of violence but could not find an agreement to guarantee a lasting truce and reconciliation between the two sides.
According to the Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour, the 50-minute meeting showed the Council’s state of paralysis and its inability to take responsibility for ending the violence.
The main culprit of the impasse is the United States, which is preventing any action that could blame Israel. With no agreement between the Council’s 15 members, no declaration on the situation in Gaza was possible.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that Israel “will not accept a call for both sides to exercise restraint. There is one side that attacks and fires 400 missiles at civilian populations, and there is another side that protects its citizens.”
Despite the upsurge, violence “has not affected pilgrimages, nor the security situation in the most visited sites in the Holy Land,” said Mgr Marcuzzo, especially now during Advent.
However, Israel and Hamas "remain diametrically opposed". Real peace will not be possible "if there is no justice and nor a solution that is right for both parties.”
“Whilst problems remain unresolved at present, the two sides could look at Saint John XXIII’s 'Pacem in terris',” he said.
For Yedidia Sermoneta, an Israeli expert, the truce was unavoidable after days of tensions, but it is not likely to last long.
The flare-up followed an "undercover Israeli operation deep into the Strip aimed at stopping the rockets". This sparked Hamas’s reaction directed at "capturing Israeli soldiers and use them to get the release of Palestinian prisoners, like in the past. They did not succeed and this has upset them, hence the attack" against southern Israel.