It was only Friday that Hamas declared the truce was off. As the Israeli response has escalated, and they may face actual consequences for the latest bombardment of southern Israel with rocket fire, they’ve changed their minds.
It is a calculated move, of course, hoped to have the practical effect of allowing Hamas and jihadists who feel threatened enough to play along to declare when hostilities begin and end as it suits them. They know that Israel will be held to an international double standard where it will be expected to adhere to any truce, while the jihadists can make virtually any excuse they like for continuing rocket fire on a lower level of intensity. As the saying in Israel goes, “We cease, they fire.”
Leaders of Gaza’s militant groups convened in Cairo Sunday to discuss a possible cease-fire with Israel, according to an Islamic Jihad official.
Just a short while later reports emerged of the meeting, two mortar shells were fired at Eshkol Regional Council, and Palestinian sources in Gaza reported airstrikes had resumed.
According to sources, seven people were injured in an Air Force bombing of a Hamas outpost. A training camp belonging to Al-Ahrar Brigades was also bombed, as well as an open area near Nuseirat refugee camp, reports say. No casualties were reported in the latter strikes.
In online messages published in forums linked to Hamas and Fatah, the Gaza Strip government allegedly informed all Palestinian factions about a lull agreement, calling them to stop firing at Israel, which reportedly goes into effect on 9 pm Sunday.
According to Islamic Jihad official Ahmed Mudalal, the discussions were based on a lull agreement draft sent by United Nations envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry. Mudalal clarified that the Palestinian factions do not plan on handing Israel a lull agreement “free of charge,” adding they will demand an immediate halt to Israel attacks in Gaza.
“The Islamic Jihad, as well as the rest of the Palestinian factions, are trying to spare our people from the agony of war,” emphasized Mudalal. “However if it’s enforced upon them, then the people must show patience and the resistance must protect ithem [sic] with all its might.”
Possilbe [sic] cease-fire?
Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad’s Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shallah is said to be arriving in Cairo for consultations with Hamas and Egyptian officials, according to a report in Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper.
The report further stated that talks about a possible cease-fire had already started up on Saturday, after Hamas officials claimed they were not interested in escalating the already heated situation between them and Israel.
Quoting a top-ranking Palestinian official, the report claimed Hamas was trying to persuade the Islamic Jihad’s military wing to stop attacking Israel.
However Jerusalem officials claimed Sunday they have no knowledge of such plans for a cease-fire or a lull agreement with the Palestinians.