Egypt’s ceasefire terms ignore Hamas’s demands

If Hamas accepts the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, it will be perceived as having been heavily defeated in the latest round of conflict with Israel, ToI’s Avi Issacharoff writes in a new analysis piece.

That’s because 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, he notes. “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. And there is no mention whatsoever of the situation in the West Bank. All these demands were raised by the Hamas military wing two days after Israel began Operation Protective Edge, and repeated interminably ever since.”

Exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, left, and Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wave during a news conference upon Mashaal's arrival in the Gaza Strip on December 7. (photo credit: AP/Suhaib Salem, Pool)
Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal, left, and Gaza’s former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh wave during a news conference in the Gaza Strip in 2012. (photo credit: AP/Suhaib Salem, Pool)

Adds Issacharoff: “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 ex-PM Ismail Haniyeh, the military wing in Gaza, and political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar range from bad to worse.”

The leaking of the proposal to the Egyptian media, the fact that it ignores Hamas’s demands, and the further fact that it includes a nod to Israel via its similarities to the 2012 terms, says Issacharoff, “must seem suspicious indeed to Hamas. Could it be that Jerusalem and Cairo hatched this move together, in order to corner Hamas?”

Read the full piece here.