As countries mobilize to mediate ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, the fighting between the two groups continues as more lives are claimed.
As Israel's government and Hamas continue their respective assaults on each other with the former launching an offensive with airstrikes and the latter continuing its rocket attacks, world leaders are working actively and behind the scenes to achieve a ceasefire agreement. In Cairo, representatives of the Egyptian government are actively acting as the mediators to work out an agreement between Israel's government and Hamas to stop the fighting and bloodshed. One official said that both groups are looking for assurances that the hostilities from each other are stopped for the long run. While they are talking, the offensive on Gaza by the Israeli government and the rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas continues.
This has an effect across the world as many governments are weighing in. As the two sides continue fighting, the civilian death toll increases. Israel stepped up its bombing campaign by attacking homes that belong to the members of Hamas; however, many civilians are getting killed and many more wounded in the process. Not many Israeli casualties due to the “iron dome” which is a rocket-defense system.
Joining Egypt in the mediation talks is France. Laurent Fabius, the Foreign Minister of France's government, has already flown to the Middle East. According to Fabius, the first and concrete step that has to be taken for a ceasefire agreement is that Gaza needs to stop firing rockets at Israel.
In a Washington Post article, the United States is trying to play a behind-the-scenes role for a ceasefire agreement. While touring Asia, in which Myanmar was one of the tour stops, United States President Barack Obama has already talked with both Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Recently, during the start of the Arab Spring, Hosni Mubarak was overthrown as Egypt's leader.
This is both a test for US President Obama and Egyptian President Morsi.
For Obama, he was re-elected as the United States President on November 6. The conflict between Israel and Hamas will be a major foreign policy test for his second term and it could play a foreign policy role in the 2014 US Senate and US House elections.
For Morsi, Egypt's has its own share of problems. Protesters and Egyptian security forces clashed with each other; not because of the Israel and Hamas conflict. This is the anniversary of the bloody confrontation in Cairo last year. This was when Mubarak's presidency had come to an end. Even after Mubarak had left office, there was still much unrest in Egypt. In a Huffington Post article, Morsi could find himself being humiliated and thwarted by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Chief, is planning to visit both Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
BBC / Screengrab
Gaza crisis: More than 100' killed in Israeli strikes
The recent attacks by Israel has been condemned by Reporters Without Borders. This is due to two media centers being attacked in Gaza. Six Palestinian journalists were wounded in the process. In the Washington Post article, one of the journalists ended up losing a leg in the process. Pretty much, Israel is starting to feel the ire of the international journalism community. There is the suggestion of war crimes due to Israel's airstrikes hitting the media outlets. Reporters Without Borders said that even though the media outlets are linked to Hamas, they are not legitimate targets. In a Washington Post video, Islamic Jihad said that one of its top militant leaders was killed when one of the Gaza media centers was hit.
In Berlin, Germany, pro-Palestinian activists have taken to the streets to protest Israel's actions.
Russia's government has recently weighed in on the recent Israel-Gaza conflict. According to Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council has been silent. In an Associated Press article, Churkin is frustrated and thinks this is a “filibuster attempt” by members of the UN Security Council. He said that Russia could introduce its own ceasefire resolution soon.
While the US is trying to work actively behind-the-scenes, it's working an international tightrope. This will test Obama's foreign policies on a major level. According to VOA News, Turkey's government is calling upon the United States to hold Israel accountable. In Istanbul, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state” for conducting “acts of terrorism.” Turkey and the US are allies in opposition of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The conflict in Syria stems from the same Arab Spring which led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak from Egypt.
Turkey, like Egypt, has its own share of domestic issues. The country plans to hold talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Recently, over 700 imprisoned PKK members have ended their two-month hunger strike. This group is considered a terrorist group by Turkey's government, the United States, and the European Union (EU). Turkey's military and the PKK forces have been in armed conflict with each other for decades. The death toll of the conflict have been in the five-figures. In a VOA News article, the recent PKK insurgency could stem from the same Arab Spring.
China's government has weighed in and urged both sides to stop fighting. The country, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has good ties with both Israel and Palestine. Like Turkey, China has its share of domestic problems which have brought international attention. One prime example is Tibet. Recently, another Tibetan had committed suicide through self-immolation to protest Chinese rule.
As the countries weigh in and mediation talks are happening, the fighting between both sides continue with Israeli and Palestinian civilians fearing for their lives. An article on PBS News Hour compares and contrasts how the Israeli and Palestinian civilians prepare and deal with the conflict. According to one parent in Israel, there are preparations such as sirens and shelters when Hamas attacks with rockets. In the case of Gaza, the Palestinians have no warnings nor bomb shelters. Instead, they place plastic on glass so people don't get hurt when it gets shattered. They scramble for supplies and seek shelter in apartment stairwells.
The article also talked about the Alamdhun family which is in this predicament: out of all the five family members, one is capable of hearing while the other four are deaf. Due to no electricity, the family has no way of receiving TV signals.
In a Reuters article, the Dalu family was hit hard by Israel's bombing. It was reported as the deadliest single attack. Nine family members were killed in the bombing. One man went into the morgue to see the body of his wife whose face was burned to the point where it could no longer be recognized.
While this conflict is gaining international attention, ABC News, in an article, points out other dangerous borders across the world. One of them is the border between Syria and Turkey with the former dealing with a civil war. There's the Afghanistan-Pakistan border which has been a major international issue especially with the United States. Other borders pointed out are: North Korea-South Korea, Southern Sudan-Sudan Border, and the United States-Mexico Border.