Hamas spurns Israeli offer to renew Gaza truce
The decision not to renew the six-month “truce” which expires on Dec. 19 was taken by Hamas-Gaza and its Damascus politburo, hours after an Israeli defense ministry official, Amos Gilead, arrived in Cairo, Sunday, Dec. 14, with Israel’s offer of a renewal for Egyptian intelligence minister Omar Suleiman to pass on.
debkafile reports the offer ordered by defense minister Ehud Barak aroused angry responses in Israel. At the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, ministers one by one reproved Barak for making the offer without waiting for a government decision on whether or not to extend the “truce” in the face of the frequent Palestinian violations.
Broad military and political circles are totally opposed to continuing the farce. In less than a month, the Palestinians in Gaza have fired more than 200 missiles, mortars and Katyusha rockets at the Israeli population within range. During the last six months, the Israeli army has intercepted several Hamas bomb-traps teams and cross-border terrorist excursions.
In a radio interview Sunday, former Military Intelligence chief (Res.) Brig. Zeev Farkas said that without an Israeli military operation, the Sunni extremist Hamas would continue to grow, build up its strength and engage in violence, like its ilk in Pakistan, Iraq and other places. However, Barak adheres to his policy of letting the Palestinian terrorists continue their attacks sans any serious Israeli military response.
Our sources report that by sending Gilead prematurely to Cairo, Barak played into Hamas’ hands. Khaled Meshaal in Damascus seized on the opportunity for an outright rejection of any suspension of the violence, although the Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniya avoided a direct no.
The nuanced differences between Damascus and Gaza do not change the situation that the “ceasefire” – such as it was – is at an end for the Palestinian side.