The hudna is never meant to last, but Hamas will take full advantage of the chance to regroup and reload under cover of the legitimacy (such as it is) of a U.N.-brokered ceasefire… if they ever actually stop firing. As the all-too-true Israeli quip puts it: “We cease and they fire.”
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Roberty Serry successfully brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip including Hamas, Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted senior Palestinian sources as saying on Sunday.
The deal, reportedly reached Saturday night stipulated that the IDF stop its air and artillery strikes against Palestinian terrorist groups, who also reportedly have agreed to halt their rocket and mortar fire.
Neither Jerusalem nor Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have announced a ceasefire, but senior officials made statements Sunday hinting to their openness towards such a deal.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said early Sunday that Jerusalem was willing to accept a mutual ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza after several days of projectile fire and IDF strikes, adding that “If necessary, we will act, but,” he said, “restraint is also a form of strength.”
“If they stop firing on our communities, we will stop firing. If they stop firing in general, it will be quiet, it will be good,” Barak told Israel Radio.
On the Gazan the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, Al-Quds, said that it was committed to a ceasefire with Israel, saying it was in the “interests of our people not to give Israel an excuse to launch a major military operation in Gaza.”
The announcement came only hours after the group claimed responsibility for firing three mortars and a rocket into Israeli territory Sunday morning.
Abu Ahmed, Islamic Jihad’s spokesperson, said that his group would cease violence “so long as Israel fulfills it’s responsibility and stops attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”
Hamas also softened its language on Sunday.
The group’s spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Sami Abu Zuhri, on said that “The Palestinian factions are not interested in escalation.” He added, “if the Israeli aggression stopped, it would be natural for calm to be restored.”
This, from the group that fired an anti-tank missile into an Israeli school bus on Thursday.
The Associated Press reported that, in a rare move, Hamas’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad told Israel Radio in Hebrew that Hamas was “interested in calm, but want the Israeli military to stop operations.”
The current round of violence began on Thursday when Hamas’ armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, fired an anti-tank missile at an Israel school bus, leaving a 16-year-old in critical condition. Over the weekend, Palestinian terrorist groups in the Strip fired over 120 mortars, Kassam and Grad rockets into Israeli territory. Nearly two-dozen Palestinians, including members of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups have been killed in IDF strikes.
Israel Radio reported that officials in Jerusalem had received a request from Hamas’ political wing through intermediaries asking for a cease fire Saturday afternoon….