Tag Archives: Islamic Jihad

Egyptian Diplomat Brings Hamas Truce Offer To Israel

As Jews throughout the world celebrate the Passover holidays, Egtpitan Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman will soon be arriving in Israel with an offer from Hamas for a truce. The Egyptian government has been actively engaged in peace discussions with Hamas for many reasons including a desire to avoid its own confrontation with Gazans if Hamas orders a breathrough of Egyptian lines on the Gaza border. Discussions about a truce began months ago spearheaded from the Israel side by Gen(ret.) Amos Gilad and Suleiman. Prime Minister Olmert continues repeating the government line that no discussions were being held with Hamas, either official or not official.

There is some evidence of a split in Hamas leadership with those on the scene in Gaza seeking a reduction of tension while Hamas leaders stationed in Damascus are more prone to seek increasing tension in order to force Israel to the bargaining table. A key factor hindering attaining a cease fire is that while Israel wants an end to Kassam rocket attacks, it does not want a cease fire which allows Hamas to resupply with rockets and other weapons. There is concern among some Israel leaders that Hamas wants to create a situation in which Israel comes across as the intransigent party.

Hamas insists any truce also entails opening border crossings and a halt to Israel Defense Troop operations in the Gaza area. Hamas has agreed in principle to the Egyptian proposal and, in effect, has thrown the ball into the Israel court for further action. However one problem that impacts any truce is whethe Hamas is able to control other militant factions such as the violent Islamic Jihad to cease firing rockets.

Egypt Furious At Hamas Threats

The Egyptian government expressed its “astonishment” at Palestinian comments by Hamas leaders they might decide to once again breach Egyptian border placements. Hamas and the islamic Jihad movement are prepared to send thousands of Gazans against Egyptian guards in order to break through the wall. Most probably, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad hope to use such an occurrence in order to smuggle in addtional arms for a confrontation with Israel forces. The Foreign Ministry said “such unacceptable statements totally contradict with the efforts of Egypt in exertng to life the siege of the Gaza Strip” in order to restor a calm situation to the area. The Egyptians believe Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are using food riots inside Egypt as a pretext to create chaos.

Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya told a Gaza press conferece; ” I expect that what will happen next will be greater than what happened before, not only against the Egyptian order, but against all crossings.”

There is a certain sense among many Hamas leaders that death and destruction are more important than peace and security. They apparently don’t care if they create chaos in Egytp, in Israel or among West Bank Palestinians as long as they can present themselves as martyrs in the struggle for independence.

Possible Secret Meeting Between Abbas and Hamas

The Jerusalem Post reports President Mahmoud Abbas who heads the Palestinian Authority has responded positively to Egyptian requests for a meeting with Hamas leaders. Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman has been discussing possible peace with leading members of Hamas as well as leaders of Fatah. The Pan-Arabic newspaper Asharq Alawasi says that Hamas is now ready to discuss ways of working with Abbas in order to end the discord between the two groups. A senior Israel official was reported to have said if Abbas seeks to negotiate with Hamas it would end Israeli attempts to cooperate with Fatah. In the meantime, the military Islamic Jihad group indicated it would not be bound by any agreements reached between Abbas and Israel.

The good news is Abbas is finally agreeing to meet with Hamas, the bad news is Israel’s refusal to involve Hamas in peace talks. There is no doubt Hamas has encouraged militant attacks on Israel, but refusing to negotiate will only result in further attacks. A major mistake of the Ehud Olmert government is taking a hard stand against negotiation because a group has a record of violence toward Israel. The Israeli government refuses to acknowledge its own record of violence toward Palestinians. The only hope for peace is negotiation between conflicting groups. Egypt’s effort to hold secret meetings between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo can only help lead to peace. The reported obstinate stand of Israel against including Hamas will damage possibilities of peace in the region.