Hamas has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel, the group said Wednesday evening, after talks in Cairo. The Hamas delegation, who said it made the decision with reservations, was making its way back to Damascus to brief the group’s leaders…
It has been widely reported that a potential truce would initially consist of a slowing down of IDF activities followed by a temporary ceasefire and a halt to troop movement into the Gaza Strip. Agreements with Egypt regarding smuggling into the Strip would then be finalized, including the introduction of US monitors, and, after calm has been reached, a full cease-fire would be established and IDF forces would withdraw from Gaza. Only then would discussions over opening the Gaza crossings begin.
If this is a correct description, it makes no sense for Israel to agree.
Hamas is highly motivated to bring in weapons and transfer personnel through the border. Will the American “monitors” directly confront them? What will happen if Americans are killed? Will the Egyptians have motivation equal to that of Hamas?
If it acts as it has in the past, Hamas will ‘accept’ the cease-fire with reservations unacceptable to Israel, and then act as though these were part of the agreement (for example, the previous cease-fire as agreed to by Israel applied to Gaza only, while Hamas used Israel’s counter-terrorism activities in the West Bank as a pretext for firing rockets). Since it will have an excuse and the means to break the cease-fire, it will do so at its convenience.
If a cease-fire is implemented now, and the Hamas leadership in Gaza (Haniyeh) and Syria (Meshaal) remains in place, then its status as representative of Gaza Palestinians will be enhanced. In the Arab world, it will be seen as having defeated Israel by ‘armed struggle’; in the West, it will be treated as the de facto ruler of almost half the Palestinian people.
This will be the case even though the Hamas regime has not met any of the international criteria for participation in the Palestinian Authority (recognition of Israel’s right to exist, acceptance of prior agreements between Israel and the PA, renunciation of terrorism), and although it took Gaza in an illegal, bloody coup.
Hamas is guilty of war crimes such as deliberately attacking civilian populations, fighting in civilian clothes and even in stolen IDF uniforms, using the population as human shields, stealing humanitarian aid, and — today — firing white phosphorus munitions at human (in this case, civilian) targets. Despite Hamas claims, Israel has done none of these things.
Hamas is opposed to any peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians, and as long as it continues in power, there can be no solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict that leaves the Jewish state in existence (see Jeffrey Goldberg, ” Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas“, which includes interviews with Hamas leaders).
Anyone — the US, the UN, whoever — who truly desires peace in the region should understand that it will not be obtained as long as Hamas controls Gaza.
Israel has the ability to seal off the border between Gaza and Egypt and prevent the rebuilding of Hamas’ military infrastructure, and the ability to find and eliminate the murderous Hamas leadership, both in Gaza and Syria.
It’s in the interest of every peace-loving being — nations as well as individuals — to allow Israel to finish the job and put an end to the hateful, racist war-mongering Hamas regime.