U.S.-Israel Diplomatic Mix-Up May Have Botched Earlier Ceasefire

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

A misunderstanding between U.S. and Israel might have been the cause of the breakdown of one of the ceasefires with Hamas last month, according to Army Radio on Tuesday.

The report said that the Americans mistakenly led Israel to believe that Hamas had agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire on August 1, when the Gaza terrorists had made no such commitment, at least concerning not attacking IDF troops in Gaza.

The truce was scheduled to go into effect at 8:00 a.m. At about 9:30 a.m., two IDF infantrymen were killed by Hamas operatives in an ambush near Rafah during a search for tunnels. It was in that incident that Hamas terrorists snatched the body of Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was later declared killed in action. IDF retaliation quickly followed.

The tragedy was apparently the result of a misunderstanding between the two men who brokered the cease-fire — Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — and the Israeli government.

After the event, Israeli officials confirmed that Hamas had not, in fact, agreed to a ceasefire on the ground at that time.

Israeli officials said they had tried to avoid just such a misunderstanding.

“We demanded two things from the Americans,” a diplomatic source was quoted as telling Army Radio. “We wanted a cease-fire, and we wanted complete freedom of operation against the tunnels, without the threat of coming under fire from Hamas.”

“We demanded it in writing, that Hamas accept these conditions,” the official said. “There were also the statements to the press.”

The Israelis don’t believe there was any malicious intent on the part of Washington, but that it reflected and aggravated an already troubled U.S.-Israel relationship.