Ceasefire Seems Unlikely, After Mashaal Speech
There may be talk going on about a ceasefire, but Hamas is not interested, said Hamas top terrorist Khaled Mashaal. Speaking in Gaza Monday afternoon, Mashal said that there would be no compromises with Israel. “There may be or may not be an agreement, but that is up to Israel,” he said. “There are efforts by Qatar and Egypt, we are meeting with them every day. But we will not accept any Israeli conditions. If they want a ceasefire, let them stop attacking us. The one who started the violence should end it.”
Instead, he said, Hamas expects Israel to surrender to its demands – specifically the ending of the land and sea blockade around Gaza. “We are not seeking to aggravate the conflict and give the Israelis a reason to invade Gaza,” he said. However, he said, Hamas was prepared for a land operation by the IDF.
Reports in Arab media said that both Israel and Hamas were close to an agreement on a ceasefire. What is holding up the agreement, the reports said, was Hamas' demands that Israel capitulate to its conditions. Israel is insisting on an immediate end to the rocket attacks by Hamas before any further discussions take place, while Hamas has said that it wants a commitment for the ending of the blockade, or at least an easing of it.
Mashal said that it was Israel that was seeking a ceasefire, something that Israeli officials immediately denied. “Hamas is looking for a way to get out of the corner it has painted itself into,” said one government official. “Their ability to inflict terror on Israel is fading by the hour, and they are getting desperate.” The success of the Iron Dome system, the source said, had struck a mighty blow to Hamas' strategic offense. “With the construction of the security fence and the blockade around Gaza, the only way they can inflict terror on us now is with these missiles, and Iron Dome has taken this ability away as well. Hamas is in a major crisis,” the official said.