by Dish Staff
The Gaza ceasefire ended today with a fresh exchange of fire and the calling off of negotiations in Cairo. Netanyahu –shock– was quick to blame Hamas:
After reportedly coming close to an agreement, the parties appear to be back at square one:
Netanyahu’s right-wing Minister of Economy, Naftali Bennett, said after the renewed fire Tuesday that it was impossible to negotiate with Hamas. “When you hold negotiations with a terror organization, you get more terror,” he said. “Hamas thinks that firing rockets helps in securing achievement in negotiations, therefore it is firing at Israel even during a cease-fire. Rockets are not a mistake [for Hamas], they are a method.”
A Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, accused Israel of dragging out the talks and of not being serious about reaching an agreement. “Israel’s foot-dragging proves it has no will to reach a truce deal,” Abu Zuhri said. “The Palestinian factions are ready to all possibilities,” he added, presaging the likelihood of a return to further conflict.
Though the fighting drags on, Israel seems to believe it has already won. Eli Lake watches the victory lap:
On Monday [Israel’s deputy minister of foreign affairs Tzachi] Hanegbi told a handful of reporters that Israel’s campaign in Gaza this summer would deter Hamas for years. “I think Hamas is going to be much more restrained in the coming years,” he said. “It will be very careful before being so adventurous.” Hanegbi went even further. He said there was a chance that this time around, Hamas would reconsider its strategy of building up its arsenal, and instead reconsider exactly what it had achieved after eight years in charge of a strip of land Israel removed its soldiers and settlers from at the end of 2005. The suggestion was that Hamas would know it was beaten and want to discuss a more permanent peace with Israel.
Michele Dunne and Nathan Brown criticize Egypt’s approach to mediating between Israel and Hamas, accusing Cairo of prolonging the conflict and empowering radicals:
Cairo is presiding over a process that follows the priorities of Hamas, which has always rejected the diplomatic process that began with the 1993 Oslo Accords. The current state of negotiations reflects Hamas’s position that only talks about interim arrangements and truces are acceptable; conflict-ending diplomacy is not. The Israeli right can also feel vindicated, as the talks suggest that the conflict might be managed, but that it will not be resolved anytime soon.
The Palestinian Islamist camp and the Israeli right, however, should take little joy in this accomplishment. The diplomatic efforts led by Egypt will likely give Hamas little, and the new Egypt-Israel alliance is based on a short-term coincidence of interests rather than any strategic consideration. Israeli and Palestinian societies, meanwhile, are already paying a high price for the continuing failure to reach a lasting peace accord.