by Stephen Lendman
At midnight local time Wednesday, the current 72-hour ceasefire ends unless extended or both sides agree on what’s been so far elusive. According to senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan, “these three days (in Cairo) are the last opportunity as far as we are concerned.”
“If there won’t be advancement towards the (legitimate) demands of the Palestinian people, I anticipate the delegation will leave Cairo.”
Mousa Abu Marzouq is Hamas Political Bureau deputy head. “The Palestinian side is not talking about any outcome or details of what have been discussed,” he said.
“The Israeli media seems to be suffering from a diarrhea of information despite lack of results. Underestimating the Israeli stances will cause a negative, but expected, outcome.”
Qais bul-Karin (Abu Leila) is a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) member. He’s part of the Palestinian negotiating team. Gaps between both sides remain wide, he said. Palestinians told Egypt “this ceasefire is the last.”
At the same time, a Palestinian official said its side is losing trust with Egypt as a mediator. If Israel insists on its terms, the situation could explode. The same holds if Israel maintains its hardline position.
It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. Israel doesn’t negotiate. It demands. It offers nothing or false promises to be breached later. Whatever the outcome in Cairo, expect life in occupied Palestine and besieged Gaza to remain largely unchanged. Expect justice to remain denied. Expect largely status quo conditions to persist. Expect conflict perhaps to resume.
It’s hard imagining Hamas and other resistance groups settling for continued injustice in the wake of 2,000+ lost Palestinian lives, many thousands injured, large parts of Gaza left in ruins and hundreds of thousands forcibly displaced. Or accepting clearly unacceptable Israeli demands.
They include demilitarizing Gaza to defenselessness against certain to come future Israeli onslaughts. Netanyahu rejects ending a lawless eight year blockade except for minor easing too little to matter. It’s easily reversed at Israel’s discretion for any reason or none at all. After Tuesday talks, Palestinian officials said conflict ending terms fall way short of what resistance groups justifiably demand and deserve.
Israel remains hardline. Egypt is no honest broker. It favors Israel at the expense of legitimate Palestinian rights. Ths clock keeps ticking. As this is written, it’s hours away from possible resumption of conflict. An unnamed Israeli official said no progress was made so far. “The gaps are still very wide.”
Both sides negotiate from separate rooms. They don’t meet face-to-face. Mediators shuttle between them. Proposals and counter-proposals are exchanged. This type arrangement makes tough talks harder. Fundamental genocidal Israeli policy remains unchanged.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered Israeli forces to prepare for possible resumption of fighting. When the current ceasefire ends, “(i)t could be that shooting will erupt again and we will again be firing at them,” he said.
Defrocked and reinstated Israeli Foreign Minister likely spoke for other Israeli hardliners. They dominate Netanyahu’s extremist coalition government. No peace is possible unless and until Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups are vanquished, he said. Without eliminating them, “we won’t be able to move on to any satisfactory agreement – not in terms of security or diplomacy,” he added.
“It cannot be that the State of Israel is unable to defeat 26,000 who are sitting here near us and simply threatening every other day and violating the quiet.” Israel must defeat Hamas to “prevent the next operation. The time has come to say ‘Enough.’ “
“The State of Israel cannot allow itself (to engage in) a war of attrition, and that’s why we have to get to the point of defeat, even at the price of escalation.” “If the current cease-fire is on its way to collapsing, there’s no need to threaten a harsh response.” “No harsh response – defeat. Taking the initiative into our hands, even at the price of a significant escalation. Finishing it off in the shortest possible time.”
Lieberman and likeminded hardliners want war without mercy. They want to legitimate Palestinian resistance crushed. They want their fundamental rights denied. It matters little how many Palestinians die, become injured or displaced. Official Israeli policy is state terror writ large.
It’s been ongoing for decades. It continues now. A litany of Big Fat Lies justifies the unjustifiable. Western support lets Israel get away with crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. Washington generously funds Israel’s killing machine. It automatically vetoes Security Council resolutions hostile to its interests.
Palestinian rights don’t matter. Legitimate resistance is called terrorism.
Fact: Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups don’t threaten Israel’s survival or security.
Fact: They respond only to Israeli initiated aggression.
Fact: They do so legally in self-defense as international law permits.
Fact: Israel blames them unjustifiably for its own crimes.
Fact: It fabricates reasons to launch lawless aggression and other hostile acts.
Fact: It terrorizes West Bank Palestinian communities multiple times daily.
Fact: On August 13 alone, Israeli soldiers and police kidnapped over 50 Palestinians from their homes.
Dozens of other Palestinians were injured. Israeli forces broke into dozens of homes pre-dawn. They smashed doors, broke windows, and ransacked them. They terrorized sleeping families. They left young children traumatized. They assaulted Palestinians with batons and rifle buts.
Eyewitnesses said soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets, concussion grenades, tear gas and live ammunition directly into homes.
Fact: These type incidents occur multiple times daily throughout occupied Palestine.
Fact: Mahmoud Abbas and other PA officials are complicit Israeli enforcers.
Fact: They do little to protect the rights of their own people.
Fact: Their rhetoric against Operation Protective Edge rings hollow.
Fact: For the second time in two days, Israeli warships violated ceasefire terms. They opened fire on Palestinian fishermen near Rafah. No injuries were reported.
Fact: Throughout much of Operation Protection Edge, AIPAC proliferated Big Lies. They continue.
Fact: It unjustifiably accuses Hamas of Israeli crimes.
Fact: It calls premeditated naked Israeli aggression “self-defense.”
Fact: It ludicrously claims Israel wants peace, but Hamas rejects it.
Fact: It supports Israeli crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.
Fact: So does Washington unconditionally.
On August 4, Amnesty International (AI) called for halting US shipments of fuel Israel uses to wage war on Gaza. It urges an arms embargo amidst clear evidence of war crimes. According to AI’s head of arms control and human rights, Brian Wood:
"By continuing to supply fuel for military vehicles and fighter jets being used in atta-cks resulting in mounting civilian deaths and horrific injuries, the US government will have more blood on its hands."
Israel’s “relentless air and land assault has caused overwhelming destruction since the offensive began on July 8,” said AI.
It wants “the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be referred to the International Criminal Court.”
Under the US Foreign Assistance Act, no security assistance may be given “any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.”
Washington exploits a loophole in the law. It lets Obama continue to aid and abet Israel in “extraordinary circumstances.” They amount to premeditated naked aggression against a civilian population.
“By persistently turning a blind eye to the devastating human cost of its immense arms and military fuel shipments to Israel, the USA is brazenly flouting basic human rights principles,” said Wood.
America and Israel are pariah states. Their human rights records are deplorable. They’re guilty of every high crime imaginable and then some.
They’re partners in high crimes against peace. Palestinians remain isolated on their own.
It remains to be seen what follows sham Cairo talks. Expect no substantive positive change.