05 August 2014
The effort to achieve a ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip resembles a see-saw, with at times Israel and at other times Hamas rejecting a halt to hostilities or violating a brief silencing of the guns in a bid to ensure its collapse. The back and forth reflects in the first instance a battle between Israel and Hamas to occupy the moral high ground.
But more importantly it highlights a growing realisation that Hamas is emerging politically strengthened from the death and destruction in Gaza while Israel is fighting a rear guard battle to turn military success into political victory.
Israeli spokesmen have projected the acceptance by Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups of a United Nations call for another 24-hour ceasefire as an indication that Hamas had been seriously damaged by the three-week old Israeli assault. More likely is that Hamas hoped to force Israel into a corner after Israel had rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal for a seven-day halt to hostilities because it would have legitimised Hamas’ demands for a lifting of the seven-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, the opening of all the territories border crossings, the free flow of goods and services into the strip and the release of funds for payment of Gazan public sector salaries.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 06/08/2014