Hamas Ends Ceasefire. Now What?


Islamic Jihad rockets
Amir Farshad Ebrahimi /Foter

Hold off on writing your post-mortems for the latest Israel/Hamas war. The ceasefire is officially over after Hamas rockets landed in Israel just before the 72-hour truce expired, followed by dozens of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

As the conflict slogs into its second month, Israel appears content to meet fire with fire and engage in periodic mini-wars sometimes referred to as "mowing the grass." In these brief but devastating battles, Israel never achieves a clear-cut military victory, but the ability of Hamas to strike Israel is greatly diminished and (they hope) the civilian population of Gaza grows weary of bearing the brunt of the reprisals for Hamas' armed resistance. 

As reported by Haaretz, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri explained their reasoning behind resuming hostilities: 

"We have not yet received a document with the Israeli answer to our demands. Just yesterday, we received a memorandum of understanding from the Egyptian side, and this document did not respond to any of our requests—the airport, the sea port, the buffer zone, the expansion of the fishing area, etc. There was also no explicit mention of the lifting of the siege….We think Israel is dragging its feet. They did not respond to our demands and has not done a thing to show that there is a reason to extend the cease-fire. Now all options are open….However, the door to continued conversations is not closed. The decision to comply with our requirements is in Israeli hands."

With this statement, Hamas essentially admits it has failed to achieve any of its goals. There have been no concessions by Egypt to open it's border with Gaza, no exchanges of prisoners with Israel, no major Israeli targets were struck by its rockets, and calls for an uprising in the West Bank went unmet.

If digging deep for evidence of even a Pyrrhic victory, Hamas might be proud that their crude rockets reached deeper into Israel than ever before, halting international flights at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv (for two days) and making air raid sirens and mad dashes to the bomb shelter a daily occurrence for millions of Israelis. But more signficantly, more than 1,600 Gazans are dead, Gaza's infrastructure is devastated, Egypt's military government continues to view Hamas as an enemy, and the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, is far more likely to be taking the lead in any future long-term negotiations with Israel.

Hussein Ibish writes in The Atlantic:

Hamas also faces the strong possibility of a return to the status quo ante, but perhaps with an even harsher blockade and strangulation by the Israelis. The political perils are enormous. The Gaza public, which may have rallied to Hamas's cause during the actual fighting, could well start asking pointed questions about what so much devastation achieved. At present, Hamas has no answer. If Hamas negotiators do not get a tangible benefit either for the group itself or for the people of Gaza from the Cairo negotiations, the political damage could be considerable. From Hamas's perspective, that could be mitigated if the PA also emerges from the talks discredited and marginalized. All of this will depend on the diplomatic and political fallout that develops, mainly in Cairo, in the coming weeks.

Hamas remains committed to armed struggle against Israel as its primary tactic. Right now, it almost certainly cannot sustain the public backlash in Gaza and the rest of the Arab world that would result if it resumes full-fledged hostilities now that it has ended the ceasefire. But, equally, it may not be able to live with a reality in which it paid such a high price for no achievement whatsoever. Given that nothing fundamental has changed in the structural relationship between Hamas and Israel, or in Hamas's ideology and strategy, another round of violence with Israel ultimately may be inevitable.

Foreign Policy reports that the UK, France and Germany have drafted a plan called "Gaza: Supporting a Sustainable Ceasefire," which would primarily rely on U.N. peacekeepers to "cover military and security aspects, such as the dismantling of tunnels between Gaza and Israel, and the lifting of restrictions on movement and access." The document states that the mission "could have a role in monitoring imports of construction and dual use materials allowed in the Gaza Strip, and the re-introduction of the Palestinian Authority."

It is unclear how U.N. peacekeepers working alongside the Palestinian Authority, which lost a brutal civil war with Hamas over control of Gaza in 2007, would be able to "help to prevent a rearming of militant groups in Gaza and military violations, and provide for an effective dismantling of tunnels between Gaza and Israel," considering the U.N. generally sits on the sidelines when bullets start to fly. What is clear is that Hamas is running low on allies, and appears to hope that some more rocket fire will get them the concessions from Egypt and Israel they have failed to get so far. 

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    1. Exactly.

    2. Just let them kill eachother already.

      It’s what both sides want.

      1. Signalling? I just wanted to include myself in this to let everyone know I don’t care?

      2. No.

        Its what Hamas wants.

        The Israelis, by and large, wouldn’t mind if they never killed another Pali.

        Hamas’s entire existence is based on killing Jews.

        1. And, I, as an American, would care why?

          1. As an American, I have a rooting interest in the side I perceive as being more in the right. You can be as apathetic, enlightened, or misguided as you want. Your choice.

            The American government, though? Should keep its hands to itself.

            1. +1 Eyeless.

  1. ..calls for an uprising in the West Bank went unmet.

    Some people just aren’t down for the struggle.

    …the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, is far more likely to be taking the lead in any future long-term negotiations with Israel.

    Things are looking up…

    …the UK, France and Germany have drafted a plan…


    …which would primarily rely on U.N. peacekeepers…


  2. If digging deep for evidence of even a Phyrric victory, Hamas might be proud that their crude rockets reached deeper into Israel than ever before…

    I’d say they achieved implausible levels of PR dominance over the Israelis. That’s something to hang your hat on.

  3. The best thing that ever happened to Israel was Hamas’s rise to power in the Gaza Strip. Prior to this, Israel generally treated both the West Bank and Gaza equally because they generally all freaked out in solidarity. However, the rise of Hamas gave Israel a perfect way to show Palestinians just how badly poor leaders hurt them. While the West Bank is hardly a paradise, its leaderships’ (Fatah?) willingness to work with Israel has made it a far better place to live than Gaza.

  4. Wait – is Hamas making sure that their rockets don’t land near schools or stuff?

    Cause you know, I’m sure they’ll receive the same tongue-lashing and international outcry as when the Israeli rockets hit that school in Gaza.

    Otherwise, you know, it’d be a real double standard.

    1. Not from the proggies they won’t. The proggies will criticize Israel all day and night, but they will never utter a word against Islamists, no matter what they do. They will criticize Obama before Hamas, and we know that’s not going to happen.

    2. I believe that has since been revealed as a hoax: there are pictures of them dragging bodies into the schoolyard, getting a dead baby from somewhere, and positioning them for the cameras.

      1. Something about the truth putting its boots on . . . .

        1. That’s it, thanks.


  6. My Dad once told me “Those whom God would destroy, he first tempts to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

    1. Never get in a land war in Asia.

  7. NO! It was going to work this time! (sobbing) It was going to work this time!

  8. Now What?

    What do you mean, now what? Hamas uses cease-fires to reorganize and redeploy after the latest thrashing by the IDF. More Not-News at 11.

  9. Now What?

    The US declares victory and ends all military and diplomatic ties with Israel and Palestine and may as well end all ties with all bordering nations as well.

    And under its breath while the US is leaving says “Let someone else deal with this shit.”

    1. And then you woke up, right?

    2. It was a beautiful dream, man.

  10. Hamas essentially admits it has failed to achieve any of its goals. There have been no concessions by Egypt to open it’s border with Gaza, no exchanges of prisoners with Israel, no major Israeli targets were struck by its rockets, and calls for an uprising in the West Bank went unmet.

    Aggressor does not reap any benefit from those whom they attempted to coerce through the use of force? What is there for a libertarian not to like?

    1. Perhaps it helped with their fundraising. Being broke and unable to meet payroll is said to have been at least one reason for their recents attacks on Israel.

      1. ISIS is getting all the good fundraising. Free markets, yo.

    2. What I don’t like is that the US is still wasting it’s time meddling around in MidEast affairs when it never comes to any good. That’s a lot to not like.

      Can the US name one good thing that they have accomplished there in the last 20 years, that in any way justifies the amount it has cost in lives and dollars?

      1. Lasting peace and a stable government in Iraq?


      2. Well, … no. But if the US wasting it’s time meddling around in MidEast affairs might potentially help save just one innocent life, aren’t we obligated to at least *try*?

        1. No, no, no! These are brown people – it has to be something like – ten thousand lives – to equal one baby seal or polar bear. THEN it’s worth it.


          1. I think you’ve nailed it, Almanian!

            We have to try *ten thousand* times.

      3. Can the US name one good thing that they have accomplished there in the last 20 years, that in any way justifies the amount it has cost in lives and dollars?

        Well, it paved the way for Obama’s election. Does that count?

      4. Never comes to any good? What are you talking about?

        Your problem is your selfish perspective. Think about our heroes, and their defense budget getting larger. Peace in the Middle East would be like stealing food right out of their mouths.

  11. In the West, the signal issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is usually “close the settlements and go to 1967 borders.” But the settlements in Gaza were all closed and Israel had largely left to the 1967 borders around Gaza. It’s the West Bank where Israelis live in “settlement” communities and where the military patrols beyond the 1967 borders. Yet the violence is in Gaza, not the West Bank.

    So is the argument that Gazans are primarily upset over the actions in the West Bank that those in the West Bank are not themselves worried about? That seems unlikely, given that all their demands are targeted at removing barriers to trade and movement (blockade, sanctions, quarantine, whatever it’s called) not at West Bank problems.

    Or is the argument that both places have the same ratio of upset Palestinians but the West Bank is more effectively rid of rockets and fighters by Israeli methods? Because that’s scarcely an argument for making the West Bank more like Gaza.

  12. The UN are enablers of terrorism against Israel. Wherever the blue helmets show up in the region, they serve as human shields for the terrorists who rebuild under UN cover. The first step toward peace is to kick the UN the hell out.

  13. considering the U.N. generally sits on the sidelines when bullets start to fly.

    When they’re not either actively helping or semi-actively Deliberately Looking The Other Way as Hamas uses their facilities, yeah.

    The UN is not a disinterested party here; it’s firmly on Hamas’ side, by all the data I can find.

    1. +1 Human Rights Council

  14. “The ceasefire is officially over after Hamas rockets landed in Israel just before the 72-hour truce expired, followed by dozens of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.”

    No, no, no. That can’t be right. I have been assured that Israel is just like the Nazis, and besides, Nancy Pelosi told us that Hamas is a humanitarian organization. It had to be the Jeeeeews who broke the ceasefire, right?

    1. I believe that is spelled Jooooooz, good sir.

  15. It seems by now people would have found some sort of Final Solution to the problems in the Middle East.

    Absent that – what is this, I’m Rip van Winkle, waking up in 1984? 1994? 2004? It’s like a broken fucking record.

    Rather than change the record, I opt to not listen to music from this broken machine any more, thanks.

  16. Question: Why is the Gaza border with Egypt closed?

    1. Because the Egyptians aren’t fools, and want nothing to do with the murderous and dysfunctional Hamas, either?

      1. Why would Hamas murder the Egyptians? I suppose for having a treaty with Israel?

      2. I believe Hamas is also buds with the Muslim Brotherhood. Which is kind of on the outs with the current Egyptian government.

        1. Yes, it sounds like Egypt likes Hamas even less than it likes Israel.

        2. Isn’t Obama’s brother a member of that group?

    2. They’re taking Egyptian jerbs?

  17. Of the many bad decisions Hamas leadership has made in this debacle, ending the cease-fires over and over and over and over…and over…have to be the worst. Israel has had no choice unless the government wants to appear inept to its own citizens but to rain down more destruction. Hamas has admitted to killing Palestinian children many times in the las 10 years – such as during the building of the much vaunted tunnels. Over 160 children were killed during the building because, as Hamas leadership admitted, the small size of children make them better workers. But, safety regs were non-existent, and children died. Hamas later said that they ought to really add some safety features, but never did. So, these are the people so many Americans are supporting in this conflict.

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