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‘Ceasefire will restore status quo, leave Hamas weakened’

Israel accepted the Egyptian ceasefire agreement because it would restore the status quo that preceded Operation Protective Edge but leave Hamas severely weakened, a diplomatic official in Jerusalem says. If Hamas doesn’t accept the ceasefire and continues to shoot rockets at Israel, the Israel Defense Forces “will respond forcefully,” the official warns.

“Hamas didn’t achieve what it had planned to achieve: not in the military campaign itself, where it was dealt a severe blow with more than 1,700 attacks, not in its efforts to harm Israeli civilians, not in its desire to carry out strategic terror attacks from the sea, the air and the ground — which were attempted but thwarted — and not in its ability to recruit the Arab world and Judea and Samaria,” the official says, referring to Palestinians in the West Bank.

Hamas also failed to accomplish anything with the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which does not include any preconditions and does not mention Hamas’ demands for the payment of salaries for its men in Gaza and the release of prisoners, the official says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon consult at the IDF's Southern Command (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon consult at the IDF’s Southern Command (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

The official message accepting the ceasefire, issued by the Prime Minister’s Office at 9:00 a.m., was purposefully held very brief and without pomp or gloating “to create legitimacy for the future, so that it shall be clear which side agrees” to the proposal and which side rejected it, the official says. “This decision will create international legitimacy for whatever future scenario.”

Israel will send a representative to Cairo within the next 48 hours to discuss the further details of the agreement. Jerusalem will speak with Egyptian officials, the source added, emphasizing that it does not negotiate with Hamas.

 — Raphael Ahren

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