Posted in Gaza, Hamas, tagged Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Egypt, Gaza, GazaUnderAttack, Hamas, Hosni Mubarak, Israel, IsraelUnderFire, Mahmoud Abbas, Mohammed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, Operation Protective Edge, Qatar, Turkey, United States on July 16, 2014 |
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An edited version of this piece originally appeared at LobeLog.
The fighting in Gaza will continue for some time, as a ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt fell apart. Despite the bellicose
The remains of the Ministry of Interior’s Civilian Affairs office after Israeli bombardments in Gaza City, November 2012. UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan
language Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has employed over the past week, it was Hamas and not Israel that rejected the proposal. This was, to be sure, the direct result of that proposal not meeting any of Hamas’ demands for a ceasefire and, because as one Israeli official put it, “…we discovered we’d made a cease-fire agreement with ourselves.” The dynamics of this turn of events are important and tell us much of how the ground has changed in the region.
We first must ask why Hamas rejected the Egyptian proposal. They have been rather clear about their reasons:
- One, Hamas felt, quite correctly, that Egypt had essentially negotiated this deal with Israel, then presented it as a fait accompli to Hamas. In fact, they said they first heard about it through social media.
- Two, Hamas has declared that they intend to come out of this round of fighting with some gains. In particular, they want to see the siege that Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007, the release of all the prisoners who had been re-arrested recently after being freed in exchange for Hamas freeing Gilad Shalit in 2011, and the negotiation of a long term truce, as was agreed in 2012, but never acted upon. The terms of the proposal offered no such relief, or any real change to the status quo.
- Three, many among Hamas and other groups believe this proposal was deliberately put forth by Egypt as one Israel would accept and Hamas would reject, in order to legitimize further attacks on Gaza. The way things have unfolded, they may very well be correct.
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Let me be clear up front. Hamas is a fundamentalist and repressive group. Their ideology is dangerous and whatever one thinks of their armed resistance, the targeting of civilians is illegal, immoral and reprehensible.
But that doesn’t mean that they should be looked at through a simplistic lens. They have shown a side of their structure that can be pragmatic and flexible. And the reliance of others on their charter is just stupid.
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