Amid pressure from the United States for an “immediate ceasefire” in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, the traditional mediator between the groups has said the deal rejected by Hamas isn’t changing. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, according to a report by Ahram Online, said that the ceasefire proposal is “complete” and won’t be amended.
Last week, Hamas rejected the deal outright, while Israel accepted it. After militants refused to abide by the cessation of hostilities, Israel stepped up their response with a ground invasion of Gaza. It wasn’t the only ceasefire Gaza terrorists violated.
In comments to Sky Arabic released by his office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has “agreed now to three different calls for ceasefires. We kept them even though Hamas kept firing and they violated every one of those ceasefire calls: the Egyptian ceasefire, the UN ceasefire, the Red Cross ceasefire. We kept them, they broke them.”
However, the US was starting to sound anxious about reaching a new agreement on Monday. In comments posted on the White House website, US President Barack Obama said he had instructed US Secretary of State John Kerry to “push for an immediate cessation of hostilities.”
Obama wants the ceasefire to be based on the parameters that ended the last Gaza-Israel conflict, back in 2012. Obama’s comments came despite the fact that Hamas has effectively already rejected just such a deal.
Kerry himself said in an interview on Sunday Bob Schieffer of CBS’s Face the Nation that “we support the Egyptian effort to have a ceasefire, which Israel joined into, which does not have preconditions, and then there is a promise of sitting down and dealing with those underlying issues that need to be dealt with.
“But Hamas is trying to insist that as a reward for their terrorist behavior, things be decided ahead of time, and we support Israel and the international community’s right not to be extorted by terrorism.”
One of Obama’s main concerns is the death of civilians in the fighting, which Netanyahu has repeatedly argued as being Hamas’ responsibility. The terror group is using civilians as human shields, while also attacking Israeli civilians.
“I can tell you that we opened up a hospital, a field hospital, a humanitarian field hospital on the edge of Gaza and Hamas doesn’t let the people come there,” said Netanyahu to Sky Arabic. “They’re hiding rockets in hospitals; they’re hiding arms in hospitals; they’re shooting from hospitals. So they just don’t care.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 21, 2014)