Israel will have American backing if a decision is made in the Security Council,” said the source. Most especially, said the government official, the US would be looking out for Israel’s security interests in the Gaza Strip. “The US will be sure that the issue of demilitarization will be included,” he said.
Both the US and the EU are trying to replace Hamas with Abbas. Psaki also said that Kerry has no plans to restart the peace process anytime soon.
There have also been reports that the US has been negotiating with Iran and Assad to cut a deal that the US would support Assad if he takes on Isis. Part of that deal required Iran to force Islamic Jihad to push for this ceasefire.
Well there you have it. That’s putting the best possible face on the ceasefire. It all depends on what the US intends to deliver. If they are committed to full demilitarization and replacing Hams with Abbas without any linkage to the peace process, then its a good deal. Time will tell.
Of course the naysayers, preferred to go it alone and not have international help, thereby avoiding any obligation to them and avoiding any suggestion that Hamas won anything. But even most of them were reluctant to fully destroy Hamas. Short of that, it appears that this deal has potential. That’s the best case scenario. It may be that Hamas will reject the cease fire because they are being forced to demilitarize and to give over to Abbas. In which case Israel will be in the same then as they are now with better international support. So that trying this doesn’t cost anything. Ted Belman
After 50 days of fighting, Israel and Hamas agree to open-ended cease-fire • Israeli official: A badly bruised Hamas was forced to accept the original terms • Talks on remaining issues, including Gaza demilitarization, to be held in one month.
Gazans assessing the damage, Tuesday | Photo credit: AFP
Fifty days after Operation Protective Edge was launched, an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire brought the fighting to an indefinite halt on Tuesday.
Under the terms of the open-ended truce, Israel will lift some of the restrictions on the flow of goods to the Gaza Strip — a step that is primarily designed to help reconstruction efforts — and expand the area where Gazans can fish. In addition, Egypt will open the Rafah Crossing.
According to the agreement, the two sides are to hold more talks in one month to discuss remaining issues. Israel wants the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and Hamas has insisted on the construction of a seaport and an airport in Gaza.
“The operation’s objectives — a long-term calm and inflicting substantial damage to terrorist infrastructure — have been met,” an Israeli government official said on Tuesday. “The cease-fire is open-ended, and Hamas’ tunnel network and rocket-launching capabilities have been damaged,” the official added. When the two sides convene for further talks, Israel will seek the return of the remains of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, who were killed during the fighting. Hamas will most likely ask Israel to release Hamas operatives who were taken captive.
Israeli officials emphasized that there were no direct talks with Hamas because the Palestinian delegation was headed by a Palestinian Authority official. A source close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cease-fire was “not an arrangement; it is a cease-fire.” The source said that “a comprehensive deal will be possible only after the two sides discuss the various demands in a month’s time.”
Another Israeli government official noted that Israel did not “lift the blockade” and that by agreeing to the cease-fire, Hamas accepted the terms it had rejected earlier. Israeli officials further noted that Hamas did not get what it wanted on a whole host of issues: the payment of the salaries of Hamas employees, the construction of a seaport and an airport, and the release of Hamas-affiliated inmates, including those from the 2011 Schalit prisoner swap who were rearrested as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper in June. Hamas also tried unsuccessfully to have Qatar step in as the mediator and to agree on an expiration date for the cease-fire, the official said.
Israeli officials added that Hamas asked to have the border crossings reopen but Israel had already done so by the time the cease-fire was finalized. They added that Hamas wanted to see scenes of destruction in Tel Aviv as a result of the rocket fire and it also tried perpetrate a spectacular attack with heavy casualties. But neither scenario materialized, denying the organization of the “victory images” it had sought, the officials said.
“Hamas was badly hurt,” an official said, noting that Israel would insist any new U.N. Security Council resolution on Gaza call for the coastal enclave’s demilitarization and that dual-use commodities be subject to an international inspection regime to ensure they would not be used for terrorist purposes such as tunnels and rocket-production facilities.
A military official said that the operation’s endgame was very much like what Israel had envisioned: “A bruised Hamas ultimately embraced the Egyptian cease-fire proposal; Cairo remained the only mediator, as Israel insisted; there was a major schism inside Hamas in the run-up to the truce, in no small part because the Gaza Strip and the organization had paid a heavy price.” The official added, “Just in the past week, Israel attacked more than 300 targets, and dozens of terrorists were killed. The celebrations in the Gaza Strip are not that important, because even if there was only one Palestinian left he would say that his side had won; it will take about 10 years to rebuild the Gaza Strip.”
Netanyahu did not ask the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet to sign off on the cease-fire, but Netanyahu associates said the move was greenlighted by the attorney-general. Some ministers said Netanyahu may have forgone a vote for fear he might lose. At least four Diplomatic-Security members voiced their opposition to the terms of the agreement: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the United States welcomed the newly announced cease-fire. “We strongly support today’s cease-fire agreement, and call on all parties to fully and completely comply with its terms. … We are all aware that this is an opportunity, not a certainty,” Kerry said in a statement. The U.S., which will serve as the U.N. Security Council president for the month of September, said it will introduce a resolution that would help implement the cease-fire and facilitate the demilitarization of Gaza.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas unveiled a new diplomatic initiative on Tuesday. Abbas, who announced the move during a live television address, said the Palestinian Authority would ask the Security Council to set a deadline for Israel’s withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
A senior Palestinian official said that Abbas would also like to see international forces stationed along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip to “protect the Palestinian people from the Israeli aggression.”
Abbas associates said that the PA would take legal action against Israel in The Hague, home to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. The official did not rule out the possibility that Abbas would step down from his post. He noted that inaction on the part of the international community may result in Abbas’ departure, in which case Abbas would dissolve the Palestinian Authority and Israel would have to administer Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria.