The "Israeli-style" DMZ


Park Jongwoo /

It became known that the U.S. and Israel in closed consultations discuss scenarios for the future of the Gaza Strip after the elimination of Hamas. Several main options have been identified.

The first provides for the introduction of temporary management (up to the establishment of a provisional government) under the auspices of the UN. Israel considers it unproductive, as this organization is «of little use».

The second is based on the fact that a peacekeeping force will be deployed in the sector, similar to those that ensure the fulfillment of the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in the Sinai Peninsula (the Camp David Accords). Tel Aviv believes this idea «deserves consideration».

The third involves granting temporary control over the exclave to countries in the Middle East region. In this case, US, British, French and German troops would be stationed in the Gaza Strip. The presence of Saudi and UAE forces is also desirable.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes that it would be most advantageous for Washington to entrust the administration of Gaza to the «renewed national administration» of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the West Bank. Before the presidential election, Joe Biden would not want to jeopardize even a small contingent of U.S. troops.

Israel, on the other hand, seems to be hatching another (insidious) plan: to create a buffer, demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the territory of northern Gaza — to completely cleanse it of its population and destroy everything to the ground.

Let me remind you that, from the conventional point of view, a DMZ is a territory where military facilities have been eliminated and the stationing of armed forces is prohibited.

The latest international example is the creation in 1974 of the Green Line in Cyprus, which separates the Turkish and Greek parts of the island. It is monitored by a contingent of the UN Peacekeeping Force. But the most illustrative is the DMZ between North and South Korea.

The topic of a possible settlement according to the «Korean scenario» arises more and more often. This includes the Ukrainian crisis. Moreover, figures in Kiev for some reason claim that this idea is promoted by Moscow.

«A demilitarized zone under the control of international forces should be established in the Russian border regions at a distance of 100–120 km after the end of the conflict. This is a necessary measure to prevent the repetition of aggression and to ensure the real security of Ukrainian residents», believes Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the presidential office.

«The issue of the end of the war is the creation of a DMZ with a width of 100 kilometers. This is our goal. <…> This is a zone from which it is impossible to defeat by conventional means. As it seems to me, this is absolutely the right distance», Kirill Budanov, head of the Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, echoed him.

Note that they see the DMZ within Ukraine’s 1991 borders.

It is not very difficult to figure out who is promoting this scenario. For Washington, freezing the conflict is much more favorable than, let’s say, admitting Ukraine to NATO. After all, if peace talks do take place, Moscow will have to demand non-aligned status for Kiev.

Let us remember what happened on the Korean peninsula. After liberation from Japanese occupation in 1945, Korea, according to the agreements between the USSR and the United States, was divided into northern and southern Korea. By the way, the «geographical» split along the 38th parallel was invented by two American colonels. They found neither a mountain range nor a river that would cross the peninsula from west to east.

On June 25, 1950, the war between North and South began, which lasted more than three years and resulted in a huge total loss of 5.5 million lives.

In the final stage, the Northerners were supported by the forces of the Chinese army («Chinese volunteers») and the air force of the USSR. On the side of the southerners acted units of the coalition under the UN flag (USA, Great Britain, France, Greece, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Turkey, Philippines, Thailand, Ethiopia, Colombia). It can be called differently — the grouping «NATO+», because most of the participating countries joined the alliance in 1949.

The ceasefire agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. On the North’s side, it was done by three people — the head of the DPRK delegation, the commander of the Chinese volunteers and Marshal Kim Il Sung. From the UN forces, two American generals. The representative of the Republic of Korea, General Choi Deok Shin, refused to put his signature. Seoul believed that the war should be continued.

One of the main clauses in the Agreement was «to define the demarcation line and establish a two-kilometer demilitarized zone».

The DMZ is a unique military-engineering structure, which has no analog in the world so far. It is 250 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide, stretches along the entire border, 62 kilometers from Seoul and 215 kilometers from Pyongyang. The Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea is a disputed line not agreed upon as part of the armistice.

In total, about one million troops from both sides were stationed in the DMZ area. In January 1958, the U.S. deployed nuclear warheads in the South, violating the prohibition clause of the Agreement against supplying new weapons. They were not removed until 1991.

The main sad result of the confrontation was that peace never came to the Korean peninsula. On December 13, 1991, the UN-brokered Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression, Cooperation and Exchanges was signed. It was torn up in 2010 after the incident involving the South Korean corvette Cheonan, which killed 46 of the 104 crew members. On March 8, 2013, the DPRK abrogated the non-aggression pact.

What has the freezing of the conflict and Pyongyang’s international isolation led to? The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is still on the agenda without success. This is a process in which the DPRK, in exchange for security guarantees and economic investment, can give up its nuclear program. So far, the mediators and those who impose sanctions have failed.

It turns out that the «Korean scenario» pseudo-peace under the dictation of the United States has created a headache and a mortal threat to the entire region. Is there any reason to follow this example in other parts of the world?