Global efforts to accomplish a Gaza cease-fire are nearing the critical point.
On Friday, John F. Kerry, the Secretary of State proposed his bid for a cease-fire in the Gaza strip to Israel as well as proxies for Hamas, expecting to restrict the violence that is now menacing to spread across to the busy Jerusalem and West Bank.
Kerry, who is scheduled to leave Cairo by Friday noon and get back to Washington, is waiting for a reply from the foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar as to how the head of the political wing of Hamas, Khaled Meshal has reacted to his bid.
Israeli tanks’ Salvos and Hamas’ rockets persisted through early Friday noon as Kerry was busy with frantic telephone conversations with the regional players who might be able to pressurize Hamas, particularly on Meshal, who lives in Doha. Kerry discussed matters twice with Khalid Bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, the Qatari foreign minister, who is constantly in contact with Meshal.
Though the security cabinet of Israel was ready to argue the still developing bid, it was awaiting the intentions of Hamas.
According to the Israeli representative, the proposal put forward by Kerry to Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister at their Wednesday’s meeting, included the below components:
- A temporary, 1-week cease-fire beginning on Sunday during which the troops of Israel Defense Forces will not depart from the Gaza Strip completely and will persist to find and demolish the tunnels of Hamas.
- All through the cease-fire, Hamas and Israel will start negotiations on a permanent pact, with mediation by Egypt. The authority of Palestine will also take part in these discussions.
- The European Union, the UN secretary-general and the United States will give assurance to both parties that the negotiations will handle the problems vital to them – for Hamas, stopping the Gaza blockage and re-fixing the damages to the Strip and for Israel removing weapons from Gaza of its tunnels and rockets.
Sources who are aware of the proposal suggested by Kerry, it would be a temporary Gaza cease-fire for around seven days. This would put an end to the offensive actions, but may not need Israel to remove its ground forces from the Strip.
The temporary treaty could turn out to be a bridge for a long-term agreement.
Source: Washington post