“The Egyptian cease-fire proposal that was published Monday night took most members of the diplomatic-security cabinet by complete surprise. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett heard about it in a television studio moments before going on air. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman heard about it on the radio. A senior Israeli official said Lieberman knew that talks were being held with the Egyptians, but had no idea a proposal was being finalized. Upon hearing the news, he realized that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who were running the talks, had left him out of the loop………………”
Modern Arab legend has it that the Israelis were instrumental in the rise of Hamas. The somewhat credible story is that way back in the days when the PLO, Fatah, PFLP and all the other secular Palestinian acronyms were bugging Israel, the Israelis thought of encouraging some rivals to distract them. That the Mossad helped the growth of what the Palestinians call ‘Islamic resistance’. It was a classic example of the old ‘divide and rule’. The rest is history, allegedly, but in fact credibly. It is not clear how aware the ‘Islamists’ were of the alleged Israeli role on their behalf.
Now back to the current. No wonder Hamas leaders were unhappy, nay fundamentally pissed. No wonder they rejected a deal they did not know any details of. Of course Hamas may now be somewhat trapped, more trapped than Benyamin Netanyahu, since both are not sure what to do next. In some ways Hamas’s task is easier: it mostly reacts. All it has been doing so far has been to duck the air raids and missiles, occasionally firing a few rockets that apparently do little serious harm. In other words, they only respond to Israeli action, which puts them in a weak position.
Netanyahu is also trapped: his biggest problem now is what to do next if Hamas continues to reject the deal he made privately with Al Sisi (and perhaps with the knowledge of Abu Mazen whose legal tenure in office also expired long ago)?
As for the people of Gaza, they are even more painfully trapped than either Hamas or Israel, screwed by almost all sides, to put it crudely. As usual they pay the terrible price of this new brutal Israeli assault, which was claimed to be a reaction to Hamas actions in which the people of Gaza have no input. The last Palestinian elections were so long ago, that was when Hamas won. But we don’t know how new elections will turn out in both Gaza and the West Bank. Provided they are free and fair elections.
As for the other Arab regimes they are as usual divided and impotent. They all mouth some vague verbal support for ‘Gaza’, but some of the potentates are no doubt praying fervently this Ramadan for an outright Israeli victory. (They would be praying silently, with the history of the Battle of Badr in mind during an earlier Ramadan). They have done it before, they will do it again.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum