Daily Israel Report

Israeli Government Says Hamas Didn't 'Win'

Diplomatic source counters 'victory' claim, saying Hamas was dealt critical blow and pressed into a ceasefire.
By Shlomo Pitriokovsky, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/26/2014, 10:51 PM

Hamas terrorists in Gaza (file)
Hamas terrorists in Gaza (file)
Flash 90

While Gaza residents celebrated Hamas's "victory" as a ceasefire with Israel went into effect at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a senior Israeli diplomatic source argued that the hard-hit terror organization hadn't won.

The source told Arutz Sheva that "in recent days there was heavy pressure within Hamas to reach a ceasefire, as a result of the price that the Gaza strip and the organization has paid."

"Even if just a single Palestinian were to remain there (in Gaza) Hamas would say they won. Hamas absorbed a critical blow; in the Gaza Strip they are assessing that it will take ten years to reconstruct," added the source.

That reconstruction apparently will be sped along in the ceasefire deal, which according to sources among the Egyptian intermediaries will include the immediate opening of Israeli border crossings to aid and reconstruction supplies into Gaza.

Those claims contradict reports yesterday which said Israel would not open its crossings with Gaza immediately, but only if the truce held. Those same reports had claimed that Israel would only allow construction materials - which in the past have been used by terrorists to build terror tunnels - at a later stage.

Regarding the source's comments about pressure on Hamas to reach a ceasefire, the Islamic Jihad terrorist group in Gaza reportedly was pushing for a ceasefire as early as Monday morning; the Iranian proxy group has sustained serious damage in the course of 50 days of fighting.

Hamas itself has lost its top financial chief, as well as three top commanders of Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades. In response a panicked Hamas has been conducting a campaign of executions of suspected informants.

Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif was also targeted in a strike last Tuesday night; there are mixed reports about the success of the strike, with Hamas claiming he survived. Israel reportedly knew his location three full days ahead of the strike, but chose not to act on the rare opportunity to take him out due to the ceasefire.

Despite the arguments against a Hamas "victory," Channel 2 News’ military analyst Roni Daniel assessed that Hamas itself had gained a "huge achievement" by showing it could stand against Israel for 50 days and dictate Israelis' lives, as well as the ceasefire conditions.

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni likewise criticized the ceasefire, saying "every concession to Hamas is a submission to terror." Heads of Gaza Belt communities echoed that sentiment, saying they would not let their residents return yet.

The ceasefire has been highly criticized in the government as well, where roughly half of the Security Cabinet reportedly opposed the decision. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not submit the decision to a vote, as a legal technicality allowed him to not do so.