By Vivekananda Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, October 20, 2023: The Israeli and Palestinian conflict now has reached such a stage that the state of nature described by Hobbes will perhaps be the most appropriate expression to give a picture of the current state and situation. Life indeed is “short, nasty, solitary, brutish and poor.”

Words cannot describe how the human beings can stoop so low by hatred, anger, and intolerance whether it is barbaric and inhuman attack on innocent people or destruction of residential houses, hospitals, schools, shopping centers and roads and bridges, and water and power sources and food supplies.

No matter what comes out in the media and the social media how divisive, and how distinctively different these narrations may be in terms of lurid details, since during the war the first casualty is the truth, it is not the time for finding the cause of the present and past conflict but find out how best to stop it with the least possible delay demonstrating sense of humanity, tolerance, foresight and wisdom so that it does not escalate further and bring other powers or actors both state and non-state into play bringing further misery to innocent people no matter where they reside.

Both the Jews and Palestinians have suffered. Let there be no controversy as to who has suffered more or who has suffered less and for how long and why. Arguments about it can go on forever. For particularly good reason the existing people on either side deserve to live and must live a decent and dignified life.

The United Nations, the only legally constituted globally accepted body for peace under the leadership of the Secretary-General, must step in and assert its role assigned to it under the Charter. The Charter gives the Secretary-General a pre-eminent role for peace. He should, therefore call for an immediate ceasefire.

The first step should be to stop bombing and rocket firing and making preparations to conduct ground assault. Knowing very well that the Security Council is ineffective; the General Assembly should be convened to authorize the Secretary General to take action by a resolution.

All the hostages must come under the immediate custody of the UN and released forthwith. The Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli prisons should be brought under the UN control and supervision. Gaza should be forthwith brought under the administration of UN with Secretary General as the Head under the guidance of a Supervisory Council consisting of nominees of non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Nominees should be with proven administrative, diplomatic, and international experience known for their political neutrality and impeccable integrity. Once nominated the nominees should not receive any further instructions from their countries who in turn must undertake not to interfere in their duties. The nominees should be from Brazil, Egypt, Japan, Jordan, Germany, India, and South Africa who should be on the Supervisory Council.

Elections should be conducted under the supervision of the United Nations. Gaza will have a separate constitution, based on principles of democracy like periodic election, independent judiciary, free media, neutral civil service, decentralization of power to city and village level, elected legislature and an executive accountable and responsible to it and citizens enjoying basic fundamental human rights as declared under the UN Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.

Hamas must be disarmed forthwith, and UN Peace Keeping Force should be deployed drawn from countries known for long standing professional peacekeeping experience. The sea front of Gaza should be patrolled by the UN Peace Keeping Force. The Secretary- General should decide which country would provide naval force having ability to enforce ingress and egress to the territory.

The Palestinian prisoners who were not involved in heinous crimes should be released forthwith. A judicial body appointed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would decide on this within a time limit of three months. Those who cannot be released because of heinous crimes should be tried by a court constituted by the ICJ with an appellate body like the International Criminal Court. Those sentenced to imprisonment should be transported to countries known for civilized ways of treatment of prisoners, which should be left to the Secretary-General to decide.

To facilitate ceasefire Secretary-General should contact all hostile parties like Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah and interested parties like Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian Authority (located at Ramallah), Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, and Qatar. Future of integrated Palestine including Gaza and West Bank should be decided by a global Peace Conference to be convened by the United Nations with understanding that all peace accords and entente so far negotiated must be respected.

Jerusalem should be administered by the United Nations under the Supervisory Council consisting of Israel, Palestine (including PLA and Gaza), Jordan, and Holy See and another rotating member from country where the majority population is non-Muslim and non-Christian. Advisory council consisting of five Islamic countries and five Christian countries on rotational basis should be established to be consulted by the Supervisory Council. Due respect to the existing administrative structure in place should be given by the UN body.

International Fund should be created for reconstruction of Gaza and rehabilitation of people displaced by war no matter whether they were in Israel or Gaza.

History has shown that no arrangement is permanent. No solution will satisfy all. If peace can be achieved for the interim period; all interested parties including Permanent Members of the Security Council must give assent to it to save lives and destruction of properties. Politicians must realize that short-term gain to remain in power through populist measures will eventually back fire leading to an explosion which ultimately will unseat them from power.

The enlightened international civil society which shapes public opinion must play an active and effective role in bringing peace.

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