Home / International / World Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
News Analysis: Why Hamas seeks ceasefire with Israel
Adjust font size:

Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip since mid June, has been recently calling for reaching a ceasefire deal with Israel, raising questions about its motivation behind the new offer. 


The Palestinians were astonished after Ismail Haneya, deposed Palestinian premier and Hamas leader in Gaza, expressed Monday the movement's readiness to seek a ceasefire with Israel and a cessation of rocket attacks from Gaza.


Analysts were divided on understanding why does Hamas, in this particular circumstance, has unilaterally agreed to have a cease-fire agreement with Israel.


The movement, which marked on Dec. 15 its 20-year anniversary of founding, has been behind carrying out dozens of armed and suicide bombing attacks into Israel. It is still considered by Israel, the United States and Europe as a terrorist organization.


Jamal Abu Tahoun, a Gaza academic said that after Israel decided to escalate attacks on Gaza militant groups, mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad, "Hamas was afraid that such attacks would keep the movement weak for a long period of time."


"Hamas movement wants to keep being politically and militarily strong. It doesn't want to loose its only prominent leaders, and in the meanwhile, doesn't want to loose its control of Gaza," said Abu Tahoun.


The Israeli government and the military and security establishments are in favor of launching a large-scale military operation into the Gaza Strip, while many Israeli leaders have said that Israel is ready to reoccupy the Gaza Strip for several months and strongly rein on militant groups.


"This means that Hamas as well as all other militant groups active in the Gaza Strip would finish or at least would be exhausted as a result of the ongoing fighting in case Israel carries out the operation," said a Gaza analyst.


Palestinian Ministry of Health figures showed that since holding the US-host Annapolis peace conference last month, more than 50 Palestinian militants, main from Islamic Jihad and Hamas, had been killed in the Gaza Strip during Israeli air and ground strikes.


Even in Israel, it was a surprise for many Israeli leaders in the government and in the army about Hamas' offer for a ceasefire. Some of them supported an idea to negotiate with Hamas indirectly in order to stop armed and rockets attacks against Israel.


"I believe that Hamas offer for a ceasefire was very smart," said Hassan el-Nazer, a Palestinian politician from Gaza.


He held that the announcement of Haneya "had divided the Israelis and confused them. Some leaders accepted the offer to rescue the Israeli towns from more rockets and some had disagreed because they believe that the calm period would enable Hamas to rebuilt its military abilities."


Since Hamas has taken over the Gaza Strip in mid June and ousted President Mahmoud Abbas' security forces, Israel has imposed a tighten closure on the poor, narrow and densely populated enclave.


"I believe that the Israeli closure imposed on Gaza and the world's embargo imposed on Hamas government had made moderate leaders in Hamas to think carefully that a cease-fire might lead to a breakthrough and to an end to the suffocating siege," al-Nazer said on telephone.


A moderate aide to Haneya, welcomed the idea of a mutual ceasefire with Israel, making a precondition involving an Israeli commitment.


"If there was a chance for a calmness ending the suffering of our people, then this will be a national interest that it must be dealt with under the condition that Israel must stick to it, "Haneya's political advisor, Ahmed Yousef, told reporters.


However, Nabil Amer, an aid to President Abbas, slammed Hamas' call for a ceasefire with Israel, saying: "Hamas insists to offer Israel a free cease-fire" and "this shows the secret love relationship between Hamas and Israel."


"If Hamas is really interested in a ceasefire with Israel, why it doesn't accept the cease-fire agreement that President Abbas had reached with Israel in November, 2006," said Amer.


Meanwhile, Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad (Holy War) leader from Gaza said his movement rejects a cease-fire with Israel. "There is no possibility to speak about cease-fire with the enemy, which never stopped assassinations and incursion against our people and our militants."


Dozens of Islamic Jihad militants were killed in the last two weeks, including senior Islamic Jihad militant Majed al-Harazeen.


Politician al-Nazer said "Hamas threw the ball at the Israeli playground, and now it is waiting for results from the Israeli side," adding "let us wait and see what the coming days would bring for the Gazans and for Hamas."


In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday rejected the proposed cease-fire with Hamas, saying that the government would not talk with the Islamist group until it recognizes Israel, local media reported.


During a weekly cabinet meeting, Olmert said that "the state of Israel has no interest in negotiating with entities that do not recognize the (international) Quartet demands."


Israeli army's clash with Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza are nothing short of a war, he said, adding "we cannot describe it any other way... we will keep fighting terror while doing our best to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza."


(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Israel, PNA end 1st session of peace talks
- Israeli airstrikes in Gaza kill 5 Palestinians
- Israel mulling ceasefire with Hamas
- Israeli PM rejects cease-fire with Hamas
Most Viewed >>
> Korean Nuclear Talks
> Reconstruction of Iraq
> Middle East Peace Process
> Iran Nuclear Issue
> 6th SCO Summit Meeting
- China Development Gateway
- Foreign Ministry
- Network of East Asian Think-Tanks
- China-EU Association
- China-Africa Business Council
- China Foreign Affairs University
- University of International Relations
- Institute of World Economics & Politics
- Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies
- Institute of West Asian & African Studies
- Institute of Latin American Studies
- Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
- Institute of Japanese Studies