International diplomatic calls for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict increased on Thursday after U.S. President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning. In their call, Biden said that he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” according to a release from the White House.
Hamas’s Two Demands for a Ceasefire
A senior official in the Hamas terrorist organization predicted that a ceasefire could take place within days. Hamas has laid out two demands that they insist upon before they stop launching rockets at Israel. Both of their demands center around the city of Jerusalem.
First, Israeli forces and police must agree to never again enter the Al-Aqsa mosque. At the beginning of the violence, Israeli police arrested several Palestinians at the mosque. Second, that Palestinians living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in disputed east Jerusalem not be evicted from the homes their families have lived in since the 1950s.
Hamas’s second demand is a sticky one.
Palestinians have been living in the six homes in question for nearly 70 years. However, Jewish people were able to document to Israeli courts that they were living there and owned the houses prior to the 1948 birth of the state of Israel. Additionally, the Arabs are being forced out due to not paying rent.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas political official said that an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire would succeed.
“I expect a ceasefire to be reached within a day or two, and the ceasefire will be on the basis of mutual agreement.”
A Cure Not a Band-Aid
Nevertheless, Netanyahu and the Israelis remain steadfast in their view that their operations should continue until their goals are met.
“With every passing day we are striking at more of the terrorist organizations’ capabilities, targeting more senior commanders, toppling more terrorist buildings, and hitting more weaponry stockpiles,” Netanyahu said.
“[I am] determined to continue this operation until its objective is achieved: to restore quiet and security to you, citizens of Israel,” the Israeli prime minister added.
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. and UN Gilad Erdan was even more forceful in his remarks. In an interview with CBS, he said that the UN should, “condemn strongly the launching of missiles and rockets at our civilians and they should back Israel’s efforts to degrade and dismantle the Hamas terror machine.” He added, “unfortunately, as we know, this is not what will happen.”
Erdan said, “They are looking for a ceasefire, but we are looking for a cure and not a Band-Aid.”
Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen denied that a ceasefire was imminent on Israeli radio KAN. “No. We are definitely seeing very significant international pressure… we will finish the operation when we decide we have attained our goals.”
A Beleaguered Hamas
The Israelis continue pounding Hamas-run Gaza with airstrikes, targeting Hamas military HQs, rocket launcher positions, weapons depots, underground tunnels, and the homes of Hamas’s commanders.
Their actions indicate that they want to deter the terrorist group from being able to conduct offensive operations for quite some time.
However, since Hamas surrounds itself with the civilian population, the cost of targeting the group gets increasingly higher. Since hostilities began on May 10, officials in Gaza claim that 230 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, have been killed and more than 1,700 wounded in airstrikes. Israeli losses are 12 dead and 336 wounded.
Hamas has launched about 4,000 rockets from Gaza at Israel in the past 11 days. However, some of their rockets have fallen short, hitting their own population areas while most are shot down by Israeli Iron Dome air defense systems.
Will a Ceasefire With Hamas Achieve Anything Lasting?
While Washington and several Middle Eastern countries, notably Egypt, have sought an end to the violence through diplomacy, any ceasefire is unlikely to address the fundamental issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
At its core, it is difficult to hammer out a peace agreement when the Palestinians who are seeking a country without Israeli interference, steadfastly reject Israel’s right to exist.
Furthermore, having Gaza run by Hamas, a terrorist organization, will not be an easy sell to the majority of nations in the UN.
Thus, since the Israeli “cure” is to wipe out Hamas’s ability to harm Israeli citizens with thousands of rockets the violence will continue and any truce will only be a temporary one. And terrorist groups don’t appeal for truces unless they are being hurt.