Kerry pushes for cease­fire terms to be more favourable to Ha­mas

ANAL­Y­SIS

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DOVID EFUNE

HA­MAS IS in bad shape.

The ter­ror group’s over­seas bene­fac­tors are di­min­ish­ing and ri­val groups within Gaza are seiz­ing Ji­hadi mar­ket share. The new regime in Egypt is supremely un­friendly and after weeks of re­lent­less tar­get­ing, the IDF now has Ha­mas in a ter­ri­ble state.

All this leaves just about ev­ery Is­raeli won­der­ing why ex­actly US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry is fran­ti­cally seek­ing an “im­me­di­ate cease­fire” in Is­rael’s Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge.

The surgery is in full swing and after some 2000 strikes the tu­mour is half re­moved. To pull out now would be a lu­di­crous mis­judge­ment.

Even Is­rael’s peacenik poster-girl Tzipi Livni was hav­ing none of it. “There is no real op­tion for a cease-fire now. This op­er­a­tion is un­avoid­able,” she as­serted on Tues­day morn­ing.

Amaz­ingly, since Ha­mas re­jected last week’s Egyp­tian cease­fire pro­posal — which was im­me­di­ately ac­cepted by Is­rael — Kerry has been dili­gently work­ing to se­cure more favourably terms for the Is­lamists.

“US of­fi­cials said they were also look­ing to see if they could en­cour­age changes in Egypt’s pro­posal to se­cure the back­ing of Ha­mas, which be­lieves Is­rael has re­neged on pre­vi­ous agree­ments,” the AFP re­ported on Tues­day.

Ad­di­tion­ally a bizarrely timed FAA travel ban on Tues­day has left Is­raeli of­fi­cials fum­ing, with some spec­u­lat­ing that the move was in­tended to ca­jole Is­rael into ac­cept­ing new, less than favourable, cease­fire terms.

As baf­fling as this all may be, Kerry was good enough to pro­vide some can­did in­sights into his diplo­matic cal­cu­lus in a rare ‘hot mic’ mo­ment pre­ced­ing a Sun­day in­ter­view on Fox

News.

“It’s a hell of a pin­point op­er­a­tion, it’s a hell of a pin­point op­er­a­tion,” Kerry, sound­ing frus­trated, is heard telling an aide.

The aide re­sponds: “It’s es­ca­lat­ing sig­nif­i­cantly and it just un­der­scores the need for a cease­fire,” to which Kerry replies, “We’ve got to get over there. I think we ought to go tonight.”

Obama era for­eign pol­icy has an in­nate aver­sion to es­ca­la­tions.

It has been with­draw­ing troops and down­siz­ing the mil­i­tary from its in­cep­tion. It has down­played the threat of Al Qaeda, dis­missed the ter­ror at­tack in Beng­hazi, walked back from its red line in Syria and al­lowed more flex­i­bil­ity for Putin’s in­dis­cre­tions.

It is an ag­gres­sive ‘shove it un­der the rug’ pol­icy that down­plays real threats al­low­ing them to fes­ter, re­group and re-emerge, and it is about as short sighted as a naked mole rat.

But Is­rael has al­ready seen the in­her­ent risks that come with a job un­fin­ished fol­low­ing its last two Gaza wars, and the pub­lic is in no mood to leave Ha­mas alive to kill an­other day. Egypt’s al-Sisi has had a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence with the Mus­lim Brother­hood.

But here is the good news. No­body lis­tens to Amer­ica nowa­days any­way. The au­thor, based in New York, is the Edi­tor-in-Chief of the Al­ge­meiner and Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Ger­shon Ja­cob­son Foun­da­tion

John Kerry with Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu

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