If, until a few days we repeatedly said that Hamas is in distress, over the past 48 hours, even the Israeli government is in distress. It stems primarily from the fact that they are losing control of events. All the thoughts, plans, assumptions and expectations — have proven to be false.
It can now be disclosed that the ceasefire that was supposed to take effect Tuesday morning, but ultimately was never implemented, was accepted during the first-ever conversation between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The two spoke by phone and agreed on the principles.
When Netanyahu asked the Egyptian president if he would be able to convey the message to Hamas, el-Sisi replied that he was in contact with Hamas and is convinced that everything would work according to what they would agree upon.
But it quickly emerged that the Egyptians had put the wagon before the horse, and Hamas was in no hurry to accept the agreement between the leaders of Israel and Egypt. Everyone in Yerushalayim waited for 9 a.m., when the ceasefire was supposed to take effect, but nothing happened. On the contrary, from that point on, Hamas increased its rocket attacks and its statements against an agreement that was, as they said, “made without the real bosses in the Gaza Strip” — Hamas.
From that moment on, Israel lost its equilibrium. It had built on hopes and assumptions, which turned out to be groundless. In the meantime, the army has taken its foot off the gas pedal, so to speak, and the attack machine has slowed down somewhat. The number of Israeli airstrikes is clearly on the decline, while the rocket fire is keeping up the same pace. The pleas of the 56,000 soldiers sitting near the Gaza border doing nothing are beginning to be heard: “How much longer will you keep us here without making decisions? If you want to act, act! If you decided not to launch a ground offensive, let us go home.”
The IDF is under pressure. The ones complaining are its own people, but it doesn’t have the answers; the political echelon does. And the politicians do not seem to be able to make clear decisions, and are putting things off from minute to minute. The army distributes pamphlets calling on Palestinians to leave their homes in certain areas, but then doesn’t attack there. Then, when it calls on residents of other areas to leave, they aren’t in such a hurry anymore.
Yesterday, the IDF got an approval (an optional one) to call up another 8,000 reservists. No one understands why the army needs them, if the politicians do not intend to order a ground operation.
Meanwhile, the United Nations commissioner in the region suggested a humanitarian ceasefire. It will begin at 10 in the morning and end at 3 in the afternoon. It is clear why he wants it. The man is one of the closet people to the Palestinians, and often openly displays his dislike for Israel. He certainly thinks that such a step is beneficial to Hamas, which needs time to reorganize.
It’s not clear why Israel agreed. Anyone who thinks it will give Israel points in the world should have just glanced at the newspaper headlines last night around the world. It wasn’t Israel’s willingness to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire that made headiness, but rather the deaths of four children on the Gaza coast. This teaches us that we can do everything to garner support in the world, and it will search out failures and murders — as it defines them.
Does the Israeli government know where it is headed? It’s not at all certain.