One can hardly recall another example of a conflict in which so many ceasefires were called and rejected in such a short time by one or both of the sides. Such has been the case in the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. The most recent 72-hour truce appears to be holding, after the last one was broken abruptly within less than two hours. Both sides desperately need the fighting to come to a complete halt for their own reasons. However, even after more than three weeks of unabated bloodshed, it seems they still believe that there is enough unfinished business to carry on. For the outside observer of this horrific bloodshed, a truce, even a short humanitarian one, might seem like the only logical conclusion. However, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has demonstrated time and again, it defies logic and both sides seem determined to inflict pain on their enemy, regardless of if it genuinely serves their national interest. Establishing a ceasefire also requires honest and capable brokers. There is certainly no shortage of willing mediators who have stepped forward offering their assistance in negotiating an end to the hostilities between Hamas and Israel. Nevertheless, the mediators themselves are not only baffled by Israeli and Palestinian behavior, but they are also beset by their own divisions and rivalries.
Divisions among the international mediators has enabled both sides to ignore any pleas to stop the bloodshedYossi Mekelberg