Wednesday, May 08, 2024

  • Wednesday, May 08, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
The New York Times reports:
Israeli officials said on Tuesday that major gaps remained with Hamas over the latest proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza, as delegations from both sides arrived in Cairo to resume talks.

Hamas said on Monday that it had accepted the terms of a cease-fire proposed by Arab mediators, and U.S. officials said it had minor wording changes from a proposal that Israel and the United States had recently presented to the group.

But Israeli officials disputed that characterization, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying on Tuesday that his war cabinet unanimously believed the proposal Hamas had agreed to was “very far from Israel’s core demands.”

The most substantive sticking point centers on a key phrase that appears in both the Israeli- and Hamas-approved proposals: a path to “sustainable calm.”

In the proposal that Israel approved, and that Egypt conveyed to the Hamas leadership on April 26, the two sides would work toward achieving a “sustainable calm” in Gaza after an initial six-week pause in fighting. That proposal left those two words open to interpretation.

But in the Hamas-approved proposal, that term is clearly defined as a permanent cessation of hostilities and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.

The text of the proposal that Israel had approved is not available to analyze the differences, so I cannot confirm that the differences were merely "minor wording changes." 

I suspect that one real issue is the full phrase that Hamas approved. Al Jazeera's translation of the second stage of the proposal says:

A return to sustainable calm (a permanent cessation of military and hostile operations) must be announced and take effect before the exchange of captives and prisoners – all remaining living Israeli men (civilians and soldiers) in exchange for an agreed-upon number of prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons and detention camps.

Israeli forces shall withdraw completely from the Gaza Strip.

 The word "return" in "return to sustainable calm" means that the situation would revert to the way things were on October 6. 

Which means that there is nothing in the agreement, from Hamas' perspective, that would stop it from planning and executing another pogrom against Israeli civilians. After all, there was a "sustainable calm" before 10/7 according to their text.

From Hamas' viewpoint, the October 6 "status quo" must return before even the third phase of the agreement of returning bodies. 

Moreover, the third phase includes "A complete end to the siege of the Gaza Strip" meaning Israel cannot restrict imports into Gaza, including weapons. 

This agreement would be a complete victory for Hamas. Israel would not gain a single thing it did not have before the war, and it would in fact lose what controls it did have. 

No matter what the Israel-approved proposal was, there is no way it was anything close to this. Le Monde quotes a Hamas official responding to the proposal:

A senior Hamas official insisted late Saturday that the group would "not agree under any circumstances" to a truce that did not explicitly include a complete end to the war, including Israel's withdrawal from Gaza

Which means that Israel's proposal as of Saturday was nowhere near what Hamas says it agreed to on Monday. 

The most troubling part is that US officials are characterizing Hamas' text as a positive step and only cosmetically different from Israel's proposal of April 27.  Israeli officials say  “Israel got played” by the U.S. and the mediators who submitted the new proposal without their approval. 

I see nothing that indicates anything otherwise. That means that the Biden administration has completely different aims than Israel does in these negotiations - aims that would imperil Israel's security. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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