While Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were actively trying to get Egypt on
Sunday to broker a cease-fire as the IAF hit targets in the Gaza Strip and
Palestinian rockets continued to pound the South, Jerusalem was not fervently
campaigning for a cease-fire at that time.
A high-level Hamas delegation
headed by Musa Abu Marzouk arrived in Cairo on Sunday for talks with Egyptian
officials on ending the violence that erupted after the IDF killed Zuhair Qaisi,
the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, on Friday. As a result, the
Palestinians have fired scores of rockets at southern Israel.
Hamas delegation headed by Mahmoud Zahar arrived in Cairo a day earlier for the
same purpose. The efforts came as various Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip
announced that they would abide by a new ceasefire with Israel.
announcement followed intensive meetings between leaders of various factions and
senior Hamas officials, who made it clear that Hamas was intent on maintaining
the period of calm that had prevailed with Israel until last
Jerusalem, however, did not seem in any rush to get the
international community to step in and stop the fighting.
according to Israeli diplomatic officials, the world was not demanding that
Israel stop its military activities inside the Gaza Strip.
one official, the lack of international outrage at Israel’s military actions in
Gaza is because the Israeli strikes have so far been surgical, and have not
caused extensive civilian casualties.
The official said that the
international media has not yet been mobilized because there has not been a
great deal of destruction on either side.
“If there is not a great deal
of coverage, there is no pressure on governments to intervene,” the official
said. He also said that the world’s attention was diverted by the bloodshed in
The official noted that the current round of fighting was getting
only minimal play in the media abroad, a situation Israeli was content with
since the more attention on the issue, the more pressure that would be brought
to bear on Israel to stop its military actions.
Another government source
said that there was very little criticism of Israel’s actions and “not a lot of
pressure to stop” coming from the world’s capitals.
“When our strikes are
clean, there is little international pressure, because they understand who we
are hitting,” the official said. He added that few have any illusions about
Islamic Jihad or the Popular Resistance Committees.
officials said there were European efforts to arrange a
Meanwhile, Hamas representative Ismail Radwan told the
different faction leaders that the Palestinians should not give Israel an excuse
to launch military operations against the Gaza Strip.
Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the Egyptians have been working continuously
“to stop the Zionist aggression” on the Gaza Strip. He expressed cautious
optimism regarding the prospects of reaching a ceasefire deal, and said the
position of the Palestinian armed groups toward a cease-fire with Israel was
“positive and responsible.”
They said that most of the victims were
members of armed Palestinian groups.
Hamas has not been involved in the
latest rocket and mortar attacks on Israel.
However, its security forces
did not move to stop the attacks, most of which were carried out by the Popular
Resistance Committees and Islamic Jihad, Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip
Holding Israel responsible for the repercussions of its “crimes”
against the Gaza Strip, Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri advised Israel not to
test his movement’s patience.
His statement was seen as a warning to
Israel not to target Hamas officials and installations.
“Resistance is a
legitimate right of our people,” Masri said, hinting that Hamas would not remain
silent if it is targeted by Israel. “Calm will be met with
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also been
working toward achieving a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, his aides in Ramallah
said on Sunday.
Abbas phoned Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders Khaled
Mashaal and Ramadan Shallah to discuss with them the prospects of ending the
violence, the aides said.
Also on Sunday, Abbas spoke with Arab League
secretary- general Nabil Elarabi about the situation in the Gaza Strip and ways
of achieving a cease-fire with Israel.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat
blamed Israel for the escalation and called on the US to halt the Israeli
military operations and help to restore calm.
Erekat said the
Palestinians have also appealed to the rest of the Quartet members – the EU, UN
and Russia – to intervene with Israel to stop the security deterioration. The
Quartet is scheduled to meet at the UN on Monday to discuss the stalled
Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, a meeting called before the recent
escalation of violence.
Meanwhile, Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UN
Haim Waxman sent a letter of complaint Sunday to UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon and members of the UN Security Council regarding the barrage of rocket
attacks, calling on them to “unequivocally condemn” the attacks and do
everything in their power to “stop the rocket fire that continues to rain down
on Israeli civilians, in violation of every precept of international
Waxman said that Israel sent a letter a few days ago warning “of
the dangers of inaction” by the international community.
“We alerted the
council that these attacks had the potential to ignite a serious escalation of
the conflict, which could affect the entire region,” he wrote. “The events of
the last two days have proven the danger of silence on behalf of the
international community at large, and the Security Council, in