Rumors of another 72-hour ceasefire are flying along rockets from Gaza on southern Israel Sunday afternoon while Israel maintains it will not hold negotiations under fire.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorists, who are separated only by which group can scream louder that the Zionists must be destroyed, attacked Israel from the Gaza border to Ashkelon more than 30 times Sunday morning.
Israel retaliated with a limited number of targeted aerial strikes. Hamas claimed, as usual, that an innocent child –this time a teenager – C was killed.
Israeli negotiators left the so-called ceasefire talks, which Hamas has tried to turn into negotiations for its demands, because of the continued rocket fire that broke the last 72-hour truce Friday morning.
The Arab negotiators threatened on Sunday they would leave Egypt if the Israelis don’t return. The Netanyahu government has not commented and has not offered a clue if negotiators are ready to fly back to Cairo.
Everyone is threatening everyone, but Israel is unlikely to refuse a ceasefire and lose Brownie points on the diplomatic front.
Despite protestations from both sides, talks for a ceasefire are going on behind the scenes. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is part of the action he never loses an opportunity to play with fire. He has talked again with officials from Qatar, which feeds Hamas money and hosts a computer system programmed by which pressing “enter” will set off an underground rocket launcher in Gaza.
One sign of a new ceasefire by Sunday evening was a fresh barrage of rocket attacks on Gaza Belt communities and as far north as Ashkelon. There was minimal property damage and no injuries.
The attacks will give Hamas an opportunity to say that it has scared Israel into a ceasefire and subsequent negotiations. If the rocket fire magically ends one minute before a ceasefire, then Israel can claim as if it stood its ground and refused to talk about a ceasefire before Hamas ran out of breath.
If Hamas really were serious about digging for an extended round of attacks and counter-attacks, it would have fired a missile towards Tel Aviv. It still might launch just to impress itself
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is feeling pressure from a large segment of the population and even from center-left Knesset Members not to go back to another round of allowing Hamas to harass Gaza Belt communities and to retaliate for the rocket explosions as if they were on Tel Aviv.
The problem is that the world already is used to Israel playing the wimp when the rockets are aimed at rural areas and usually explode in open areas. Once in a while there are near-misses of a rocket hitting a classroom of children.
Israel is gaining some international sympathy as even the BBC and The New York Times are beginning to own up to the truth that the number of civilian casualties in Gaza is far less than Hamas claims.
But the momentum is in Hamas’ favor. By all accounts, Gaza has been devastated, and the pictures of the destruction that foreign media publish day after day have incited hundreds of thousands of anti-Zionists around the world to protest. In South Africa, an unprecedented anti-Israel rally drew approximately 50,000 demonstrators.
Western media and many political leaders know that Israel is in the right “but” – meaning, “Hamas is at fault, so let’s sit down and talk about making peace with Hamas.”
This is a dramatic change in reasoning with the same unreasonable conclusion, a change from the mantra that “Israel is at fault, so let’s sit down and talk about making peace with Hamas.”