By Ted Belman
Israel decided that an agreement with Hamas isn’t worth the paper it is written on. So no cease fire is being sought. That means that Israel is ending Operation Preventive Edge. The IDF has already started pulling out and Israel has told Gazans to return to their homes in certain neighborhoods.
It also means that Hamas get nothing for its troubles. That won’t stop them from claiming they won because Israel backed away. Hamas and Gaza have suffered great destruction and many deaths and received nothing in return.
Israel gets its quiet for quiet but not before destroying the tunnels. Their decision may have been based in part in the US agreeing to resupply Iron Dome. Thus Israel can continue to shoot down missiles and can use artillery to hit back at launching pads.
‘If Hamas continues fire, operation in Gaza will continue,’ Livni says
“We’ll operate according to our security needs,” she says.
Hamas officials have said that a unilateral ceasefire by Israel may not necessarily be met by a cessation of hostilities by the Palestinian terror group.
Livni says Hamas had anticipated negotiations on its demands in Cairo, but that’s not going to happen. If it has demands of Egypt, such as those relating to Egypt-Gaza border crossings, it can negotiate with the Egyptians, she says. “We won’t be arguing with them.”
Livni says that rather than working toward a ceasefire agreement with Hamas, Israel has “taken the initiative into our hands” and is seeking an “arrangement against Hamas” with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt. She calls for renewed negotiations with Abbas, whom she calls an appropriate partner for cooperation, to dismantle Hamas control in the Gaza Strip.
She says that when the IDF has finished dealing with the tunnels, which is anticipated in the coming days, people in the south who have moved further north will be able to return.
Asked whether the Hamas leadership can expect to be off-limits once troops are pulled out, and can leave the bunkers they’ve been in since the start of Israel’s operation, Livni replies: “As far as I’m concerned, every terrorist of every rank is a target.”
She says the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge has created new deterrence. “It’s clear to Hamas that Israel used heavy force… They shouldn’t test us again.”
As for the kidnapped soldier, 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin, Livni says that “Hamas thinks that kidnapped soldiers are our soft underbelly.” Therefore, “the less we show that underbelly, the less they’ll try to kidnap soldiers.”