Did Netanyahu Trash Ceasefire Deal Agreed by Hamas to Continue War? - ANALYSIS

Conflicts 17:49 08.05.2024

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) armoured units forcibly occupied the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt on May 7 — despite Hamas agreeing to the latest hostage and ceasefire proposal a day earlier.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has taken control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah Border Crossing – the crossing point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip – as part of the Rafah offensive.

The latest stage of the Israeli invasion of Gaza went ahead despite Hamas agreeing to the latest peace proposal negotiated by Egypt, Qatar, the US and Israel in previous weeks with the party that governs the besieged territory.
The deal would have seen a ceasefire in return for the release of 30 Israelis captured by Hamas' armed wing and other militant groups in their breakout from northern Gaza on October 7 2023.

"[Israel Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is obviously reluctant to accept Hamas' peace negotiations," Mehran Kamrava, professor of government at Georgetown University, Qatar, told Sputnik.

"He has now said that it's not acceptable largely because his political career would be in serious difficulty once the war ends. And so, for domestic political purposes, particularly in light of the massive demonstrations in Israel in recent days, his political career is in serious jeopardy," Kamrava added. "And therefore, if he ends the war, he will be in difficulty."

Hamas announced on May 6 that it accepted a ceasefire proposal outlined by Cairo and Doha during the weekend.

According to Axios, Tel Aviv was not satisfied with the deal with Hamas and accused the US of not informing it about the latest Qatari and Egyptian proposals.

Israeli officials insisted that the new agreement contained "many new elements" that were not part of the deal that was presented to Hamas by the US, Egypt and Qatar ten days ago with Israel's approval.
But a senior US official retorted that "American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts. There have been no surprises."

A source familiar with the talks told the website that on Monday morning, CIA director Bill Burns held talks with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

However, when Hamas signaled its agreement to the proposal, Gallant claimed bewilderment over the deal. Axios sources further alleged that Washington invited Israeli officials to Cairo over the weekend but Tel Aviv refused to send a team.

"All indications are that there's tremendous pressure on Israel now to accept the peace process. The Americans, the Egyptians, the Qataris, the European Union, everybody's on board and Hamas is on board, except Israel," Kamrava said.

Under the pretext that the ceasefire and hostage agreement's terms were still undecided, the IDF issued a statement saying that Israeli ground forces "began a precise counterterrorism operation based on [military and security] intelligence to eliminate Hamas… within specific areas of eastern Rafah."

Kamrava warned that the Israeli offensive carries the risk of exacerbating the already dire humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

"The Israelis have refused to accept any responsibility," he said. "They have laid the responsibility squarely at the feet of Hamas. I don't think they would accept any responsibility for humanitarian aid for Palestinians that are into Rafah."

According to the academic, Israel has "told the Palestinians that they need to move into an area that is uninhabitable. It's been absolutely, completely destroyed."

"There's no shelter, there's no housing there," Kamrava stressed. "That is the Israeli mindset when it comes to the Palestinians. It doesn't seem like they really are in any mood to think about humanitarian issues."

All rights are owned by Sputnik.

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