Hamas leadership refuses Egyptian cease fire initiative

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Top officials in the Hamas movement, including Khaled Mashaal currently residing in Qatar who leads Hamas's political bureau from exile, have rejected an Egyptian-proposed cease fire yesterday between Israel and Hamas, claiming it does not serve their interests.

The cease fire supposedly began, as proposed in the Egyptian initiative, at 9:00 yesterday morning local time (0600 UTC), after approval by the Israeli cabinet. However, the militias in Gaza continued launching rockets and declared they do not accept the initiative as it does not fulfill their demands.

The proposal "wasn't worth the ink it was written with", said a statement by Hamas's military wing. Talking to the AP news agency, Osama Hamdan, an aide to Hamas leader Mashaal, said Hamas has specific demands from Israel, including prisoner release.

Analysts quoted in nsnbc.me website claim Hamas has a divided agenda, making it even harder to get to a decision agreed by all. The faction led by Mashaal is, reportedly, said to be influenced by agendas of other countries in the region, such as Qatar and Turkey, and not solely from the interests of the Palestinian nation.

Since the beginning of the escalations, Israel has been bombarding the Gaza Strip, emptying the accustomed busy Ramadan streets and markets. Some blame Israel for the grim situation and publicly call to strike against it, others quietly blame Hamas. A resident of Gaza, a driver in profession, identified only as Abu Ali for fear of Hamas' retribution, said "Everybody here hates Hamas, but they are too afraid to say so publicly".

Commenting to CNN on Mashall's role in the situation, Neri Zilber of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy remarked, "Despite his George Clooney-type looks, he's very much a dangerous man because he aids and abets Hamas' very destructive policies and strategy."