Thursday has delivered yet another blow to those forever trying to construct a moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas.
With the ceasefire in the Gaza strip set to expire in hours, negotiations between Israel and Hamas have ground to a halt. Israel has demanded that Hamas disarm, but it has indicated that it is willing to extend the ceasefire without precondition in order to allow negotiations to continue. Hamas, for its part, wants no part of that deal.
The terrorist group’s military wing has instructed peace negotiators in Egypt to reject any truce agreement unless all of its demands are met.
What are those demands, you ask? “Hamas has demanded the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade imposed on the coastal territory after the Islamic militant group seized power in 2007,” the Associated Press reported.
That is a nonstarter for both Israel and Egypt, which fear that Hamas militants will use the relaxed restrictions on ingress and egress to import armaments and defensive materials.
This report was leaked to the press via an Egyptian official who, according to the AP, expressed his concerns over the Hamas delegation growing increasingly unreasonable.
The Egyptian security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said the Palestinian delegation’s stance had hardened after the arrival in Cairo of Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders from the Gaza Strip.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev confirmed on Thursday in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that Israel is prepared to consider easing the restrictions on the blockade of Gaza as long as there had been verifiable disarmament of the Hamas militants first.
“The rockets led to the restrictions,” Regev said. “If the rockets stop, if the violence stops, the restrictions can be eased.”
The counterpoint is that Hamas has little incentive to cease the violence because when the West Bank disarmed and the Palestinian Authority became a more responsible international actor, they got little for it. This is not an entirely unfounded concern, but to agree with this argument is to concede that violence against Israel is justified in order to achieve a political objective… which no one would ever come out and say…
Maybe the increasingly one-sided nature of the conflict in Gaza will prompt the global community to begin expressing their hope that Hamas rather than Israel will observe “restraint.” Maybe United Nations officials will condemn Hamas’s excessive and unproductive actions…
Hilarious, I know. But one can dream.