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Israel Considering a Truce with Hamas to 'Strengthen' Egypt

Diplomatic officials say Israel is considering both an Egyptian, UN truce deal - but is concerned over faltering deterrence.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 8/22/2014, 12:04 PM

UN Security Council
UN Security Council
Reuters

The US has joined the European push for a UN resolution to end the fighting in Gaza, Channel 10 reports Friday - and Israel might be considering accepting the terms of a potential proposal. 

Political sources in Jerusalem, who asked to remain anonymous, told the news outlet that officials prefer to end fighting using Egyptian mediation - despite the fact that both the Israeli and Palestinian Arab delegations pulled out of Cairo talks after Hamas breached the ceasefire on Tuesday.

Israel is keen to advance the standing of current Egyptian president Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, due to his fight against the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot Hamas, officials said. 

Israel's interests are allegedly to see Egypt emerge again as a strong and influential power in the Middle East; therefore, talks are still on the agenda, despite a "significant decrease" in the chance of their success. 

Meanwhile, the sources added, the possibility of Israel accepting the UN Security Council's new resolution being drafted on Gaza has not been entirely rejected, and diplomatic efforts are currently being conducted to influence the text of the resolution according to Israel's security needs.

A workable proposal?

According to AFP, the initial stages of the UN resolution call for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire that would put an end to the firing of rockets and military operations in Gaza.

It also calls for a lifting of the Israeli blockade and the institution of a monitoring mechanism to report on ceasefire violations and verify the flow of goods into Gaza.

Likewise, it reportedly specifies giving control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and most significantly, a resumption of peace talks based on the 1949 Armistice lines.

Diplomats said the measure was aimed at advancing efforts to reach agreement within the 15-member Security Council on a resolution after Jordan's draft met with resistance, notably from the United States.

The new resolution draft instructs UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately come up with proposals to "implement the relevant provisions of this resolution" in a move that could jump start the peace negotiations, with pre-defined borders as noted above.

Security crisis

The main issue, however, is the fact that "no effective party exists" to deter Hamas from using humanitarian aid to build terror tunnels and other weapons - even the UN, the official said. 

The backlash indicated by the official's cryptic remarks corroborates with earlier responses from Israeli politicians several weeks ago, after Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) suggested that Gaza be handed over to the UN to appease the international community. 

This is the third time in a two-week period that the idea has been raised; earlier this week, UN envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry suggested that the UN 'monitor' imports into Gaza, despite ample evidence that the same humanitarian aid materials are used to manufacture weapons and terror tunnels. 

To illustrate this, the IDF revealed during the course of Operation Protective Edge last month that 4,680 trucks carrying 181 thousand tons of gravel, iron, cement, wood and other supplies have passed through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza since January 2014 - much of it directly from Israel to fund civilian projects. 

Instead, however, a network of over 30 tunnels was found during the ground offensive - with each tunnel costing roughly $3 million to build. For every Hamas terror tunnel, the IDF stated, there was enough building materials to build either 86 homes, seven mosques, six schools, or 19 medical clinics. 

The statistics beg the question of why Hamas needs over ten times the building materials required for the buildings above, as Gaza is not big enough to house an additional 190 medical clinics, for example.