The Egyptian proposal may not be totally dead.
Palestinian sources told Haaretz that despite recent declarations by Hamas officials in opposition to the Egyptian offer, it is possible that in the next few hours Hamas' political leadership will hold direct talks with Egyptian intelligence in an effort to accept the cease-fire proposal. Hamas' 'political chief' Khaled Meshal or his deputy Ismail Haniyeh is expected to release an official statement later Tuesday. The statement depends on how the talks between Hamas' leadership and Egypt progress in the coming hours.The provisions of the proposal is as follows:
- Israel shall cease all hostilities against the Gaza Strip via land, sea, and air, and shall commit to refrain from conducting any ground raids against Gaza and targeting civilians.
- All Palestinian factions in Gaza shall cease all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel via land, sea, air, and underground, and shall commit to refrain from firing all types of rockets, and from attacks on the borders or targeting civilians.
- Crossings shall be opened and the passage of persons and goods through border crossings shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.
- Other issues, including security issues shall be discussed with the two sides.
- High-level delegations from both the Israeli government and the Palestinian factions shall be hosted in Cairo within 48 hours of the initiation of the initiative’s implementation in order to conclude talks for the consolidation of the ceasefire and resume confidence-building measures between the two sides. Talks shall be held with each of the two sides separately (in accordance with the agreements for the consolidation of de-escalation in Cairo in 2012).
- Both sides shall commit to refrain from taking any actions aimed at undermining the implementation of the agreements; Egypt shall receive guarantees from both sides of their commitment to implementing what has been agreed and shall follow up on its implementation and engage with either side in the case of any action that impinges on its stability.
Hamas wanted all restrictions on goods entering Gaza lifted, but the closest item it received was a tepid, "persons and goods through border crossings shall be facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground." Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is no friend of the Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas so the Egyptian and Israeli interpretation of security situation becoming stable is somewhere between once Hamas renounces terrorism and once Hamas no longer exists.
The Israel acceptance boxes Hamas into the corner. With the Egyptian proposal giving Hamas nothing it demanded, an acceptance means the terrorist group caused almost 200 deaths, many more injured, a depletion of its rocket supply, and large parts of Gaza destroyed, without gaining anything politically nor inflicting horrible casualties on Israelis.
On the other hand if Hamas doesn't eventually say yes and rejects the Egyptian proposal it will find itself totally isolated in the international community and the Arab world. They will be accused of torpedoing the opportunity for calm, and Jerusalem will have the legitimacy to mount a ground offensive into Gaza.
UPDATE: By 3:00pm Jerusalem time (8:00am EDT) Hamas had fired 47 rockets into Israel's civilian communities. Israel announced that they would resume military operations immediately. Note: This does not necessarily mean the truce is dead...it just means Hamas may need more convincing.
Update Too: Ed Morrissey says, "Hamas’ rejection is yet another example of the maximalist, dead-end policies that have led the Palestinians into ruin for the past seven decades." Read his great analysis here at Hot Air.