Thursday, July 31, 2014
Yet Another 'Humanitarian Ceasefire' Announced
John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon have announced yet another humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza to start at 8 am on Friday morning, for 72 hours.
"We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire," Kerry and Ban said. "This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence.
"Israeli and Palestinian delegations will immediately be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Government of Egypt, at the invitation of Egypt, aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire. The parties will be able to raise all issues of concern in these negotiations."
As al-Reuters reported, Hamas has signed on. "Acknowledging a call by the United Nations and in consideration of the situation of our people, resistance factions agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian and mutual calm that begins at 8 a.m (0500 GMT) on Friday as long as the other side abides by it," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying.
Hamas was forced to capitulate on something they had remained adamant about up to now, their insistence on Israeli troops being removed from Gaza and the lifting of the Israeli/Egyptian blockade. Neither of those is going to happen. Apparently Hamas, which has lost a great deal of its terrorist infrastructure and hundreds of fighters is hurting much more than they would have us believe.Hamas may actually honor this cease fire, at least until they regroup.
While Kerry and Ban Ki-Moon are touting this as the beginnings of negotiations on a more "durable truce", I wouldn't bet on it. Israel has said in no uncertain terms that it will continue to destroy the Hamas tunnels, regardless of any deal that might be reached, and Israel is still insisting on Gaza being demilitarized.
Those demands are pretty much set in stone, and don't expect the Israelis to rely on the 'international community' to do the job without Israeli oversight. As I pointed out earlier, Israel has learned by experience how trustworthy entities like the UN are when it comes to disarming terrorist groups.
The Palestinian Authority's role here is very illuminating in destroying the fiction that Fatah and Hamas aren't working hand in glove together.
Fatah had orchestrated violent riots in Judea and Samaria as well as in Israel in support for Hamas and was also the head of the snake in pursuing lawfare and the diplomatic war against Israel. Abbas and Fatah were backing Hamas's ceasefire demands before they would show up in Cairo, to which the Egyptians responded 'fine, don't bother coming.'
Fatah, while they are still supporting Hamas's demands publicly managed to get Hamas to agree to put those demands aside right now in order to get negotiations started in Cairo.
The Palestinian delegation that's going to Cairo will include members of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and will reportedly be headed by Mahmoud Abbas.
What Abbas is hoping for here is to once again have the Palestinian Authority control Gaza, or at least the crossings on the Egyptian side so that they can thwart the blockade.
Kerry and Ban also are reportedly enlisting Hamas supporters Qatar and Turkey as intermediaries...so let's just say I'm skeptical of anything more than another humanitarian ceasefire coming out of this.It strikes me more as Kerry and the Obama Team pulling out all the stops to rescue Hamas.
Hamas will never cease trying to destroy Israel or give up its tunnels and its missiles voluntarily. And Israel can't afford to let them keep them.