Yet another short-term ceasefire has been reached in the Israel-Gaza war, this time for 72-hours. The previous ceasefire was shattered by a Palestinian ambush, but this one will see Israel sensing victory to be close at hand.
Ahram Online reported that the three-day calm was accepted by Israel, who will also be sending a team to long-term ceasefire negotiations in Egypt on Tuesday. Meanwhile, earlier on Monday, Israel expressed satisfaction in the IDF’s efforts to neutralize the terror tunnels that cross between Gaza and Israel’s southern communities.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced in a press statement on Monday that “the issue of lifting the threat from the tunnels that we know about is nearing completion.” He wasn’t alone in his optimism that Israel was on the way to accomplishing this key objective.
But it’s more than just good feelings. The mission’s impact on the Hamas terrorists will also be felt. GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Turgeman said in the press statement, “The reality in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip vis-à-vis the attack tunnels is completely different than that which prevailed before the start of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas has lost a strategic capability that it took years to build and which was destroyed within weeks.”
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would not be content with merely taking down the tunnels.
“What is about to conclude is the IDF action to deal with the tunnels but this operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period,” said Netanyahu in a statement released by his office. “We struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations.”
Israel has long used a “calm for calm” strategy with Hamas before, and Netanyahu’s comments may be hinting at another such approach moving forward. Quiet certainly has not been the norm for the past four weeks. Over that stretch, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 3,200 rockets at Israel, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed.
Looking ahead, Israel will need to do more to protect the southern communities than the current operation has achieved. Ya’alon recognized that and noted in the press statement that “we will also increase security for communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. We are committed to restoring security to residents and this goal needs to lead to a process of expansion and growth for communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, August 4, 2014)