European leaders are calling for a greater European role in enforcing the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.
Why Europe Must Not Be Trusted to Disarm Hamas
Soeren Kern | Gatestone Institute | September 2, 2014
European leaders are calling for a greater European role in enforcing the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. They say their focus should be not only on rebuilding Gaza, but also on monitoring the demilitarization of Hamas and helping to secure the border crossings between the Strip and Egypt to ensure that Hamas cannot be rearmed.
But if the European experience with Hezbollah in Lebanon is any indication, not only will Hamas not be disarmed, it will be rearmed as European monitors look on and do nothing.
French President François Holland, in a major foreign policy speech in Paris on August 28, said Europe should play a greater role in Gaza. “Since 2002, Europe has done a lot to rebuild and develop Palestine […] but it cannot simply be a cashier used to heal the wounds after a recurring conflict,” he said.
Referring to a nascent proposal for creating a Gaza observer mission under the auspices of the European Union, Hollande added: “Gaza can no longer be an army base for Hamas, or an open-air prison for its inhabitants. We have to go towards a progressive lifting of the blockade and the demilitarization of the territory.”
The EU observer mission—which is being promoted by Britain, France and Germany and would be established by a United Nations Security Council resolution—would be based at the Rafah border crossing, the main crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The mission would be charged with preventing the smuggling of weapons into Gaza and ensuring that building supplies such as cement and metal products are used for civilian reconstruction projects and not for building tunnels and rockets.
According to German media reports, the mission would be “more political than military,” which implies it would not be tasked with disarming Hamas.