Three rival groups are in a tug-o’-war over a ceasefire initiative for the Gaza conflict: The US and UN are pulling one way; Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the other; and Qatar, Turkey, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, are trying to manipulate the others.
Monday night, July 21, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to press their case with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi: Kerry’s directive was outlined by President Barack Obama a few hours earlier, “to focus on bringing about a ceasefire than ends the fighting and can stop the death of innocent civilians.”
Reported to be pushing for a long-term ceasefire, the UN Secretary went on to comment that it was impossible to go back to the situation that caused the conflict. He ruled out the “status quo ante” for the Gaza Strip as untenable.
This was an indirect vote of support for Hamas’s terms for a ceasefire, such as ending the blockade on the Gaza Strip and reopening all the crossings.
The UN Secretary had nary a word to say about the Palestinian Islamists’ long record of terrorism, culminating last month in the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers, the shooting of 1,850 rockets at the Israeli population in less than a month and the network of secret tunnels dug especially to burrow under the Israeli border for attacks and kidnappings.
After hearing the two comments, Hamas’ political leader Meshaal Hamas called off the statement he had planned to issue Monday night from his base in Qatar. He saw he had no need to push any further to win the support of the UN and US officials. They were already on his side and he could count on them both to twist Israel’s arm for an early ceasefire to rescue Hamas from defeat before its terrorist machine was completely ravaged by Israeli troops.
Hama [sic] leaders have grasped that the truce initiatives promoted by Kerry and Ban will essentially allow them to carry on as before with certain benefits thrown in.