Egypt has offered a cease fire proposal, as reported by Haaretz at its live blog:
10:29 P.M. Sources in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry say Egypt has proposed a cease-fire outline to Israel and Gaza: The cease-fire will start at 9 A.M., meaning Israel will stop aerial, naval and ground operations against the Gaza Strip and promise not to engage in a ground offensive or harm civilians. At the same time, all the Palestinian factions will hold their fire.
Crossings between Gaza and Israel will be reopened, and restrictions on the passage of commodities and people will be eased, in return for a halt to hostilities.
Within 48 hours after the cease-fire, Israeli and Palestinian delegations will arrive in Cairo for continued indirect talks to discuss the details of the truce and its implementation. Egypt will receive guaranties from both sides, and promises to implement the outline. (Jack Khoury)
11:14 P.M. Israel’s security cabinet will meet Tuesday morning to discuss the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. A senior minister in the cabinet said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts the Egyptian offer and will bring it to a vote in the meeting that will take place on Tuesday at 7 A.M. “This is a basic proposal that can be accepted as a starting point and after that further discussions on the specifics can be held,” the minister said. (Barak Ravid)
This presents an obvious problem for Hamas.
There are differing assessments of how much pressure its leadership is under, hidden beneath apartment buildings and hospitals it knows Israel will not bomb. Regardless, Hamas will have failed to score any damaging blows to Israel, but will have caused the deaths of almost 200 Palestinians dead and a thousand terrorist locations destroyed.
Also, Hamas made demands for a ceasefire, including the release of terrorists released in the Shalit deal but subsequently rearrested. If those demands are not met, Hamas’ inevitable claims of victory will be hard to play.
For the ceasefire to take effect, all the Palestinian terrorist groups would have to hold their fire. Who even knows if that could happen.
What’s in it for Israel?
For one, it avoids a ground invasion which almost certainly would have brought international condemnation upon it. For the first time the international community mostly sat this one out for the past week – remarkable actually. It reflects the understanding that Hamas and other terrorist factions started the conflict, and the isolation of Hamas from Egypt and other Arab countries.
Israel didn’t achieve it’s goal of crushing Hamas, but it inflicted serious damage. Invading and holding Gaza again really is not an option.
But no one should think this is the last of it.
The Israeli cabinet meets Tuesday morning. We’ll see if the passes. There is strong opposition, as The Times of Israel reports:
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon says the Egyptian ceasefire proposal is “a slap in the face of the citizens of Israel.”
Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked says halting the offensive without damaging tunnels and rockets would mean Israel is “caving in” to Hamas.
Meanwhile, MK Miri Regev (Likud) says the agreement “is a danger to the security of the state of Israel and its citizens.”