Report: US Assigned to Pressure Israel in Truce Agreements
The American government has been asked by the international community to directly intervene in any truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, according to a report in Arabic daily Al-Hayat, and force Israel to agree to Hamas's demands in future ceasefire agreements.
Egypt was reportedly behind the guarantee, as rumors swirl that the current conditions being discussed have found support both from the international community at large and from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Israel has denied agreeing to any truce deal proposed so far, however, and diplomatic sources in Jerusalem have emphasized repeatedly that Israel will not agree to any conditions unless all of its security needs are met.
"The Israeli delegation to Cairo is made up entirely of security officials," the unnamed diplomat said to the Arabic daily, "with the understanding on their departure to Egypt that they would stand strong on the issue of Israel's security needs."
The announcement, if true, could stoke further discord in US-Israel relations, after a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday night revealed that Obama's administration blocked a recent missile transfer to Israel, and ordered greater scrutiny for future requests.
US-Israel relations have suffered from US intervention before. Earlier this year, US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly attempted to force a deal on Israel and the PA which would have seen an Israeli "withdrawal" from all of Judea and Samaria, but allow for a temporary arrangement whereby IDF and/or foreign forces would maintain a presence in the Jordan Valley.
The move not only caused tensions between Jerusalem and Washington to skyrocket, but also for the US's reputation to nosedive in Israeli public opinion.
Little progress in truce talks
So far, disagreement has centered mainly around Hamas's unflinching demands for a complete removal of Israel blockade to prevent arms transfers into Gaza - including a seaport and an airport. Both moves would allow Hamas to re-arm more quickly and lethally than ever before, aided by regional allies such as Iran and Qatar.
Little progress seems to have been made in the talks so far for Israel, save for some symbolic support for its security conditions.
The European Union (EU) declared their support for the Israeli and US positions Friday, calling for the demilitarization of Gaza and adding that they would place representatives at the reopened Rafah crossing to monitor future imports.
Several weeks ago, Cairo had pledged to give Hamas renewed access to the passageway on the condition that it be monitored by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.
"The EU is ready to support international efforts [for peace], approved by the UN Security Council, including through the re-activation and possible extension of the supervisory power of the Rafah crossing," the EU said in a statement.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry thanked the international community for their sudden support; the EU has been critical of Israel over its operation in Gaza and has called for an immediate ceasefire several times since the conflict began on July 8.
"Israel welcomes the repeated calls of the ministers to dismantle terror organizations in the Gaza Strip," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated. "Commitment to the principle of demilitarization, which will be implemented through supervision, will ensure a change in the basic situation. As always, Israel will continue to maintain a dialogue with the EU on these important questions."
But Hamas officials have made it very clear that they will not accept any such conditions, and threatened a "long war" of attrition if all of its demands were not met.