By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
JERUSALEM – Eight days after the commencing of Operation ‘Protective Edge’ Israel’s Security Cabinet voted this morning in favor of the cease fire with Hamas, brokered by Egypt. Six ministers voted with PM Netanyahu in favor of accepting the cease fire; Ministers Lieberman and Bennet voted against.
According to several Arab media sites Hamas has rejected the cease fire. They have fired several mortar shells and rockets at Israel since the cease fire has come into effect.
Several of PM Netanyahu’s political party members voiced strong opposition to the acceptance of a cease fire at such an early stage in the campaign. They believe that the IDF could have done much more to decimate Hamas’s capabilities. Minister of Transportation Yisarel Katz stated: “The rocket threat has not been removed and Hamas’s leadership was not annihilated. If we would have won the world would have stood up and applauded. Ending the campaign in this fashion will bring immense pressure on Israel.” Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Dannon thinks the government could have done much more to defend its citizens. Quoting Netanyahu’s statement form 2007, he says: “Currently, the government is not doing enough to defend the residents of Sderot. This paralysis, this failure, this helplessness – must end.” MK Moshe Feiglin believes that this cease fire consists of a victory for the Hamas. “A cease fire after the bombing of all of the big cities in Israel invites the next round, in much more severe conditions.” Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau stated that the cease fire conveys a destructive message, and we cannot point to any real achievements. “The Middle East is watching what is going on here, and organizations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are getting the message. We must restore our power of deterrence.”
Avi Issacharoff, a Middle East analyst, believes that the cease fire as actually very positive for Israel, and is basically consists of a surrender by the Hamas. Writing the Times of Israel, he writes: “The conditions in the Egyptian proposal do not include any of the demands that Hamas has been repeating day and night in the last few days. As reported in the Egyptian media, there is no mention in the proposal of Hamas’s oft-repeated demand for the release of the dozens of its operatives, freed in the 2011 Shalit deal, who were rearrested in recent weeks by Israeli forces in the West Bank in the wake of the murders of the three Israeli teenagers. There is also no concrete commitment regarding the opening of the Rafah border crossing or the payments of the salaries of Hamas’s 40,000 clerks in Gaza.”
“If they accept the Egyptian proposal, they will be perceived as having been heavily defeated in the latest round of conflict with Israel; a defeat that is close to a humiliation. Hamas’s problem is that if it rejects the Egyptian proposal it will find itself unprecedentedly isolated in the international community and the Arab world. Cairo will accuse it of torpedoing the opportunity for calm, and Jerusalem will have the legitimacy to mount a ground offensive into Gaza. Thus the options open to Haniyeh, the military wing in Gaza, and political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar range from bad to worse.”
He concludes by explaining Egypt’s take on the cease fire. “It seems obvious that there’ll be few tears shed in Cairo if Hamas is perceived as weakened by a ceasefire deal, or, alternately, is hit hard by the Israel militarily. This much is clear from the discussions between Israeli and Egyptian officials, and in recent days, from the tone of the Egyptian media, which is taking great delight in criticizing and denigrating Hamas.” They are making Hamas pay for their support of Morsi, their partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood and their terror activities in Egypt.