Israel launches hundreds of rockets at Palestinian targets, and Hamas launches hundreds of rockets in the general direction of Israeli targets. Israel Kills more than two hundred Palestinians, and Hamas kills one Israeli. Israel injures more than 1,500 Palestinians, and Hamas injures a few (less than five) Israelis. Israel destroys hundreds of Palestinian houses, and Hamas destroys no Israeli houses. Israel destroys almost all police stations and military facilities, and Hamas threatens to retaliate. Israel terrorizes hundreds of thousands Palestinians causing tens of thousands to leave their homes and move to live in school buildings, and Hamas scares hundreds of thousands of Israelis but none leave their homes except for a few short interruptions when sirens blare. Israel complains about Palestinian rockets and Hamas brags about its rockets reaching major Israeli cities; reach but cause no serious harm that is worth mentioning.
The above is the picture of the last ten days of hostilities; an Israeli assault on the Palestinian people. This is not a war; rather it is one well armed party attacking a helpless other with deadly accuracy. Keeping this picture in mind, it does not take a brain surgeon to conclude that the Palestinian people need the ceasefire many times more than the Israelis do.
Egypt, as it had successfully done many times in the past, comes to the rescue and attempts to bring an end to the Palestinian bloodshed by proposing a ceasefire. The Egyptian proposal calls for a ceasefire from both sides without any complicating conditions and with an invitation to “all parties” to go to Egypt and engage in negotiations, through Egyptian mediators, to agree on the terms and conditions of a longer-term ceasefire and possibly more progress on the peace process talks if conditions allow. Israel accepts, the Palestine Liberation Organization accepts, the Arab League approves, the United Nations support, the European Union endorses, the American administration encourages; indeed the entire world welcomes the Egyptian proposal. Only Hamas rejects it.
The bigger surprise is not Hamas rejecting the Egyptian proposal, but Hamas acceptance of a much less favourable one. Hamas accepted to reciprocate an Israeli initiative that gives Palestinians a break from its bombardment for a period of five hours. Hamas jumped to accept the five-hour calm between 10:00am and 3:00pm today (Thursday, July 17, 2014).
One wonders about the twisted logic of forgoing a real ceasefire with potential of other gains in favour of a five-hour calm after which hostilities could cause more death and destruction to the Palestinian people. The only logical explanation to this seemingly amazing position lies in the fact that the Egyptian proposal was “Egyptian”. This proposal means that Egypt is regaining its leadership role in the region. This does not suite the Muslim Brotherhood movement of which Hamas is a part. Hamas – on behalf of the Ikhwaan – is not about to voluntarily allow Egypt to regain its rightful place in the region; not after removing the Ikhwaan from power. Little they (Hamas and Ikhwaan leaders) know that in spite of them, Egypt is back and she is resuming her role in leading the Arab Nation. During the five-hour calm of today, Egypt will continue to work hard with all parties, including the amateurs of Hamas and Ikhwaan to bring an end the suffering of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people know that Egypt is less interested in who can claim credit for ending the suffering of the Palestinian people; rather – notwithstanding Hamas and Ikhwaan – Egypt is more interested in achieving that objective.
By rejecting the Egyptian proposal for ceasefire and within less than 24 hours accepting a much less favourable Israeli initiative of five-hour calm, Hamas has proven to be more interested in playing the Ikhwaan game than acting in the best interest of the Palestinian people. Hamas is sacrificing Palestinian blood in order to advance the cause of Ikhwaan in undermining the Egyptian government, and is probably fully aware of what it is doing.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!