Kerry pushes for ceasefire terms to be more favourable to Hamas

By Dovid Efune, July 24, 2014
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John Kerry with Benjamin Netanyahu

John Kerry with Benjamin Netanyahu

Hamas is in bad shape.

The terror group's overseas benefactors are diminishing and rival groups within Gaza are seizing Jihadi market share. The new regime in Egypt is supremely unfriendly and after weeks of relentless targeting, the IDF now has Hamas in a terrible state.

All this leaves just about every Israeli wondering why exactly US Secretary of State John Kerry is frantically seeking an "immediate ceasefire" in Israel's Operation Protective Edge.

The surgery is in full swing and after some 2000 strikes the tumour is half removed. To pull out now would be a ludicrous misjudgement.

Even Israel's peacenik poster-girl Tzipi Livni was having none of it. "There is no real option for a cease-fire now. This operation is unavoidable," she asserted on Tuesday morning.

Amazingly, since Hamas rejected last week's Egyptian ceasefire proposal - which was immediately accepted by Israel - Kerry has been diligently working to secure more favourably terms for the Islamists.

"US officials said they were also looking to see if they could encourage changes in Egypt's proposal to secure the backing of Hamas, which believes Israel has reneged on previous agreements," the AFP reported on Tuesday.

Additionally a bizarrely timed FAA travel ban on Tuesday has left Israeli officials fuming, with some speculating that the move was intended to cajole Israel into accepting new, less than favourable, ceasefire terms.

As baffling as this all may be, Kerry was good enough to provide some candid insights into his diplomatic calculus in a rare 'hot mic' moment preceding a Sunday interview on Fox News.

"It's a hell of a pinpoint operation, it's a hell of a pinpoint operation," Kerry, sounding frustrated, is heard telling an aide.

The aide responds: "It's escalating significantly and it just underscores the need for a ceasefire," to which Kerry replies, "We've got to get over there. I think we ought to go tonight."

Obama era foreign policy has an innate aversion to escalations.

It has been withdrawing troops and downsizing the military from its inception. It has downplayed the threat of Al Qaeda, dismissed the terror attack in Benghazi, walked back from its red line in Syria and allowed more flexibility for Putin's indiscretions.

It is an aggressive 'shove it under the rug' policy that downplays real threats allowing them to fester, regroup and re-emerge, and it is about as short sighted as a naked mole rat.

But Israel has already seen the inherent risks that come with a job unfinished following its last two Gaza wars, and the public is in no mood to leave Hamas alive to kill another day. Egypt's al-Sisi has had a similar experience with the Muslim Brotherhood.

But here is the good news. Nobody listens to America nowadays anyway.

The author, based in New York, is the Editor-in-Chief of the Algemeiner and Executive Director of the Gershon Jacobson Foundation

Last updated: 2:36pm, July 24 2014