Israel’s leading newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, on Thursday cited Israeli officials as saying they are waiting for Hamas to “climb down from the tree” and get serious about a long-term Gaza ceasefire.
Hamas and/or its terrorist allies fired several missiles into southern Israel overnight as the latest 72-hour ceasefire expired. Israel briefly responded to the renewed rocket fire before agreeing to yet another ceasefire, this one scheduled to last an unprecedented five days.
PHOTO: Senior Hamas negotiator, Nahoul the Bee.
Hamas’ repeated violations of the ceasefires are seen as an outworking of the group’s frustration over everyone else’s failure to recognize that it won this summer’s Gaza war, and to award it accordingly.
In return for halting the launching of missiles that Israel’s Iron Dome easily swats out of the sky like flies, Hamas wants an end to the limited blockade of Gaza, an extension of the territory’s fishing claims and the construction of air and seaports so Hamas’ estimated 1,000 millionaires can more easily reach their vacation destinations.
Much to the group’s dismay, even fellow Arabs and Palestinians don’t seem to be taking seriously its reasonable demands.
There is broad hope in the Palestinian Authority that it will regain control of the Gaza Strip, or at least of the coastal enclave’s border crossings, which it lost after folding like a house of cards in the face of Hamas’ 2007 military coup.
And the new Egyptian regime might as well be Israel for all the hostility it is reportedly pouring on Hamas’ head. If accounts of the talks in mainstream Israeli and Arab newspapers are to be believed, Egypt and the Jewish state are presenting something of a united front in negotiations with Hamas.
Like an emotionally-wounded schoolgirl, Hamas is unlikely to return to the talks in Cairo during the new ceasefire. The group needs to save face by scoring some kind of victory from the month-long war that brought tremendous devastation upon Gaza.
But no one involved in the negotiations, least of all Israel, is going to give anything substantial without Hamas agreeing to disarm, which would be even more dangerous for the group than failing to win any concessions.
While Hamas did a good job of deceptively shaping worldwide public opinion during the war, the players on the ground know the truth of the overall situation. As such, Hamas, which everyone wants rid of, now finds itself very much in a lose-lose situation.
But for many Israelis, who know how slippery Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups can be, and how accommodating of such groups Western powers can be, the aforementioned scenario isn’t good enough.
Israeli residents of the Gaza border communities, many of whom still haven’t returned home for fear the rocket fire will resume, were scheduled to hold a large rally in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
They, like many Israelis, believe the government ended the Gaza war prematurely, and should have seized the opportunity to militarily defeat Hamas and eliminate its ability to violently threaten the Jewish state.
In the absence of such an outcome, most Israelis know that the next Gaza war is only a matter of time.