An Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was announced today with both sides claiming victory, but it appears Hamas may have gotten the better deal.Here’s the key part of the agreement: “Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas.”
If the agreement opens all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, including the key Rafah crossing with Egypt, that is a big victory for Hamas government and the people of Gaza.
Pulitzer winner Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times tweeted:
The key provision in the Gaza ceasefire is Israel’s apparent promise to open the crossings. If that’s real, that’s huge!
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) November 21, 2012
Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Institution Doha centre, tweeted:
So Hamas got: greater regional legitimacy, spike in popularity, end of assassinations, easing flow of goods into Gaza & a weaker PA to boot.
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) November 21, 2012
Hamid also noted: “In asymmetric battles such as this one, it’s very hard for a group like Hamas to ever actually “lose,” as long as it survives.”
Shaul Mofaz, leader of main political opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post: “The goals of his operation were not reached, and the next round is only a matter of time. We should not have stopped at this stage. Hamas got stronger and we did not gain deterrence … A ceasefire at this point is a mistake; this is not how a war against terror ends. Hamas has the upper hand.”
MJ Rosenberg, former editor of AIPAC’s weekly newsletter Near East Report, said it was the first Israel-Palestine agreement he has ever seen in which “Palestinians get more than Israelis”:
Big result of last week: Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood up. Israel and PA down.
— MJ Rosenberg (@MJayRosenberg) November 21, 2012
Middle East Insights curator Doug Pologe wrote:
Basically, Israel was forced to agree to terms not in its own interest and in contradiction to the stated goals of the campaign by the U.S.
— Doug Pologe (@DougPologe) November 21, 2012
Nevertheless, given that the fragile ceasefire must hold for 24 hours before the truce takes effect, the victory may be short-lived.
According to Israeli police, since the beginning of the ceasefire at 2100 tonight, at least 12 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza.
— Gidi Kleiman (@Gidikleiman) November 21, 2012
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