Last week’s ceasefire between Israel and Hamas prompted a number of similarly themed observations.
What did Hamas gain by agreeing to the ceasefire to the terms of Thursday night’s ceasefire when it rejected the same terms more than two weeks earlier? What did it gain by continuing to lose fighters and resources?
It now appears, as Elder of Ziyon shows, that the reason Hamas agreed initially to the ceasefire was to carry out Friday’s attack that killed three Israeli soldiers.
Clearly the ceasefire provided the opportunity Hamas wanted to perform this operation. Their acceptance of the cease-fire – including the terms that IDF soldiers can keep their positions, which Hamas knew were near a hidden tunnel entrance – can only be described as a well-planned ruse for this attack, Hamas’ most sought-after prize. These were not conditions that Hamas would normally accept.
Hamas’ claim that this occurred before the ceasefire is a lie, as the reports of heavy clashes in Rafah all started at 9:30, not 7:30 as Hamas says.
John Kerry said that the ceasefire was a “moment of opportunity.” Hamas obviously agreed.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 3, 2014
I suspect that this is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his frustration with the administration:
Netanyahu told Shapiro the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to people familiar with the conversation. Netanyahu added that he now “expected” the US and other countries to fully support Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to those familiar with the call. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name.
They said Netanyahu made similar points to US Secretary of State John Kerry, who himself denounced the attack as “outrageous,” saying it was an affront to assurances to respect the ceasefire given to the United States and United Nations, which brokered the truce.
— Israel in SF (@IsraelinSF) August 3, 2014
There comes a point where it’s absurd to keep on insisting that Israel has to take greater care to avoid harming civilians when the different measures that Israel takes to do so, result in strengthening Hamas. Israel gives up the element of surprise by warning residents to leave areas that it has targeted, it has cancelled attacks and agreed to ceasefires. Each an every one of these actions are taken to protect civilians. Hamas doesn’t care. And the morally blind diplomats who think that Israel needs to show more restraint are enabling Hamas.
In his columnFriday, Clueless in Gaza, Charles Krauthammer makes this argument:
Kerry seems not to understand that the Arab League backed the Egyptian cease-fire-in-place, which would have left Hamas weak and isolated, to ensure that Hamas didn’t emerge from this war strengthened and enhanced.
Why didn’t Kerry just stay home and declare unequivocal U.S. support for the Egyptian/Arab League plan? Instead, he flew off to Paris and sent Jerusalem a package of victories for Hamas: lifting the blockade from Egypt, opening the border with Israel, showering millions of foreign cash to pay the salaries of the 43,000 (!) government workers that the near-insolvent Hamas cannot.
Whatever his intent, Kerry legitimized Hamas’s war criminality. Which makes his advocacy of Hamas’s terms not just a strategic blunder — enhancing a U.S.-designated terrorist group just when a wall-to-wall Arab front wants to see it gone — but a moral disgrace.
Friday’s ambush that killed three IDF soldiers should have changed everything. An acknowledgement by the UN, the United States and the world that Hamas does not play by the rules and that leaving Hamas to its own devices it will only sow more mayhem, not bring peace. It’s time to let Israel do its job of protecting its citizens. Without the second guessing.
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