I am told that Netanyahu has two redlines. 1) don’t allow the peace process to be linked to the ceasefire negotiations. 2) don’t allow any rebuilding until demilitarization is agreed to. Let’s see if they step over them. I don’t understnd why Israel is cooperating with Egypt to install the PA at the border. What’s all that about? Ted Belman
“Hamas suffered a blow to its military, both its rockets and its tunnels, and [Hamas officials] arrived in Cairo to find none of their demands on the agenda,” one diplomatic official said.
“Hamas could have achieved the same thing with the first cease-fire effort, but they rejected the Egyptian initiative then and now they are giving in to Egypt’s dictate. The blockade is not being lifted. At the end of the day, the Egyptian initiative won out and so Hamas lost.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet ministers on Tuesday to discuss the cease-fire. The agreement will be based on the clauses of the 2012 Pillar of Defense cease-fire, which includes security and economic development arrangements.
The basic tenets of the 2012 agreement are: an end to hostilities, an understanding that any breaking of the peace on Hamas’ part will be met with retaliation, and clarifications on fishing areas off the Gaza coast and on the movement of people and goods through the crossings.
At the same time, Israel is working with Egypt to prevent Hamas from growing stronger, by stopping the transfer of weapons from Sinai into the Gaza Strip.
Officials in the Israel Defense Forces believe that, given the involvement of Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, the United States and Hamas, negotiating will be complicated and lengthy.
According to an official in the Southern Command, “After an agreement is reached, we can be calm. The damage in the Gaza Strip is vast. It will take years to repair. ”
On Tuesday, it was reported that Hamas was retreating on the demands it put forward at the first stage of talks, after Egyptian negotiators made it clear that building an airport in Gaza and opening the sea port are out of the question.
The Egyptian delegation told the Palestinians that they would discuss re-opening the Rafah terminal only if management of the Gazan side would be transferred from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority. Hamas, changing its earlier stance, is expected to accept the Egyptian condition.
Channel 2 reported Tuesday evening that the IDF showed the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet a presentation detailing the costs of recapturing Gaza. The military estimated it would take several months to recapture the area, and about five years to rid it of weapons — the process would likely lead to hundreds of IDF deaths and would cost about 10 billion shekels ($2.9 billion).
Netanyahu said Tuesday, “The operation damaged the strategic framework that Hamas has invested so much effort into over the last several years. The capability Hamas created by digging the tunnels would have allowed it to kidnap and murder many citizens and IDF soldiers by way of simultaneous attacks through tunnels that reached into our territory. There is no guarantee of 100 percent success, but we did everything possible to get most [of the tunnels].”
However, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said ending Operation Protective Edge now was not the right decision.
“Hezbollah has seen that Israel did not manage to make Hamas submit,” he said during a Channel 2 interview.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh sees the destruction in the Gaza Strip as an indication of Hamas’ victory.
“The destruction that the Zionist enemy caused proves the defeat of the occupation army that could not face our heroic fighters, and instead, chose to destroy the homes of innocent civilians and to wipe out entire neighborhoods,” he said.
“Our delegation in Cairo has the support of the entire Palestinian nation. We are cooperating with all the diplomatic processes, with our brothers in Qatar and Turkey, who are helping us with the Egyptian negotiators to stop the Zionist aggression. Whatever the enemy was not able to accomplish on the battlefield, it will not accomplish in the diplomatic arena either.”
Meanwhile, reports Tuesday evening said that a Sunday phone call between Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was suddenly disconnected. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was a technical issue, and while there are no indications otherwise, phone contact between the two reportedly has not been renewed.