Wednesday, August 13, 2014
A Holdup In Gaza Negotiations - Hamas and PA Refuse To Return Dead Soldier's Bodies
Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul were killed in action during attempts to kidnap them, and their remains were taken into the tunnels by Hamas.
The Israelis have requested that their remains be returned as part of any long term ceasefire...but Hamas and The Palestinian Authority have refused to do so, and will not discuss the issue.
The talks are at a dead end. Israel made several concessions as far as easing the passage of Gaza residents, goods and money in and out of Gaza. But Hamas and the PA are insisting on an airport and seaport, the replacement of Egypt as a mediator and the release of a number of convicted terrorists in Israeli hands...without giving up anything, not even the bodies of two dead Israeli soldiers.
Believe it or not, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly tried today to "soften" his coalition partners to concessions, including that of Israel paying the salaries of Hamas officials in Gaza.
Reportedly Economics Minister Bennett and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman are adamant against making "terrorism pay," and Liberman specifically mentioned the return of the bodies of Goldin and Shaul as essential before the end of Operation Protective Edge.
"It's unthinkable that all Hamas members, including 20,000 of the terrorists in Hamas's military wing, will receive their salaries in an orderly fashion, through the Palestinian Authority or any other way, while the bodies of IDF soldiers still have not received a proper burial in Israel," remarked Liberman.
There's likely a very good reason Hamas and the PA are refusing to return the bodies. They were almost certainly mutilated and desecrated, something Israel has seen before.
The Israeli delegation left Cairo and headed by to Israel last night for consultations but there is simply too much daylight between the Israeli and Palestinian positions, and Hamas and the PA are divided about letting Mahmoud Abbas take control again. The cease fire ends at midnight Thursday night local time. It will almost certainly end before then, with a barrage of Hamas rockets fired at Israeli civilians...probably sometime today.
The Israeli people and the IDF are both sick and tired of half measures, this on again, off again nonsense. They want Hamas dealt with once and for all. Netanyahu has to know that the Israeli public's patience has run out, and his popularity continues to drop the longer he hesitates.They will not tolerate a return to the status quo, where Hamas has the option on whether to attack Israel or not...and each time, with better weaponry.
There are actually indications from my sources that this message may have finally gotten through, and that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon are preparing to do a lot more than merely destroying the tunnels they can find and mounting limited air strikes when Hamas attacks again. From what I gather, this time they're preparing to target the Hamas leadership. And that means hitting Shifa Hospital in central Gaza City, where the rats are hiding.
The quicker this finishes, the better.