The US has rejected Israeli criticism directed at Secretary of State John Kerry and his efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
According to a senior US official, the draft proposal given on Friday to the cabinet was based on a combination of the 2014 Egyptian plan and the 2012 ceasefire plan. The new element in the draft was that the US would contribute $47 million in humanitarian assistance and guarantees from EU and other international players to maintain the peace and honor the cease-fire.
“There was no Kerry plan,” the senior US official said. “There was a concept based on the Egyptian cease-fire plans that Israel had signed off on.”
“The US administration believes that the idea now is to get a day of cease-fire at a time, to have a rolling set of cease-fires and then get talks going,” the official added. “There would be Israeli-Palestinian talks in Cairo with the Egyptians playing the role of mediator. You have a way now to staunch the bleeding.”
The US is concerned that the Gaza conflict could spread unrest in the West Bank.
“Palestinians are seeing their people killed. So there’s a lot of tension there,” the senior US official said.
Asked how the photo-op with the Qataris and Turks helps the US optics, the official said, “It’s a relationship-building game.”
The US does not approve of Qatar providing money to Hamas, but believes that this gives the Doha government leverage and the US needs a way to reach Hamas.
The US estimates that Turkey has a large regional influence too.
According to the US administration an “enduring” or “sustained” agreement means that Hamas would get a lifting of border restrictions and it would address Israel’s security concerns.
Referring to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement and July 2014 Egyptian proposal, the senior official remarked that both have some language on opening the crossings but nothing specific about Israel’s security needs.