The trio which conducted Israel’s eight-day Gaza operation, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, marked the Gaza ceasefire that went into effect Wednesday night, Nov. 21, by announcing that all the goals set for the Pillar of Cloud operation were achieved.
They did not reveal the concessions they made to enable the US and Egypt to persuade Hamas to promise to halt its long missile blitz against Israel. The most damaging was Israel’s consent for Egypt to act as truce monitor and arbitrator between itself and Hamas and the address for complaints of violations, misunderstandings and broker of future negotiations to follow the ceasefire for regulating future relations.
By deferring to Egypt’s superior authority, Israel let itself be demoted to an equal footing with Hamas, a group listed as a terrorist organization in the US and Europe and dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state.
In some respects, Israel might have been better served by direct talks with Hamas itself rather than placing its strategic policy on two borders in the hands of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
As of 9 pm, Nov. 21, Israel’s security actions on its borders with Egypt and the Gaza Strip must be adjusted to staying on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s good side.
Netanyahu and Barak’s advisers defend this concession by maintaining that it is superseded by Morsi’s dependence on Washington for the sake of American aid grants and guarantees for international credit to rescue Egypt’s economy from collapse. Cairo will be in the hands of the Obama administration and so Israel has nothing to worry about, they say.
However reasonable this argument may sound, debkafile’s analysts say it has nothing to do with Egyptian-Israeli relations which operate on a separate plane. It is a fact that Barack Obama never managed to persuade Egypt to resume its gas supplies to Israel after the Sinai pipelines were repeatedly sabotaged, or raise a finger to halt the arms smuggling traffic running through its territory to the Gaza Strip from Libya and Sudan.
Washington has very little influence on the Muslim Brothers when it comes to Cairo’s attitude towards Israel. They are far from being American puppets. President Morsi may heed US wishes up to a point with regard to the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian terrorists ruling the enclave, but the Brothers will prefer to line up with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates and follow the gospel of their radical guru, Sheikh Yousuf Qaradawi, the great champion of suicide terrorism against Israel.
Israel has gained substantially less than Defense Minister Barak claimed from the eight-day air operation launched to rescue southern Israel from the 12-year old Palestinian missile war waged from Gaza .
Hamas undoubtedly took a heavy beating and devastating damage to its command and control, military infrastructure, arms manufacturing and arsenal. But its 15,000-strong militia remains largely intact after losing 50 men and can be reconstituted. In any case, Operation Pillar of Cloud was not meant to be a military contest between the IDF and the Hamas military wing. What it finally boiled down to was a duel between the Iranian weapons wielded by Hamas and Jihad Islami and Israel’s Iron Dome missile interceptor.
Iron Dome came out of the ordeal the unchallenged victor.
With that success in hand, Israel had no need to get into negotiations with Hamas and Jihad Islami over a ceasefire, which neither of the two organizations is expected to honor. A unilateral ceasefire declaration from Jerusalem would have been enough. And in fact two hours after the ceasefire went into effect, Hamas had fired some 12 rockets against Israel. Schools in the south will remain closed Thursday.