A three-way bloc fronted the talks for a durable truce in Gaza when they resumed in Cairo, on Sunday, August 17th. Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have lined up in a solid phalanx against the Islamist Hamas-Islamic Jihad alliance.
DEBKA (h/t Susan K) Their lineup, backed from the wings by Saudi King Abdullah and Russian President Vladimir Putin, set itself five objectives:
1. To confront Hamas with a solid political-security front which is beyond its power to break.
2. To corner Hamas into accepting the Egyptian ceasefire proposion unchanged and unconditionally.
3. To compel Hamas to disarm, i.e. dismantle its rockets and tunnels, so pulling the teeth of its military wing, Ezz e-Din al-Qassam.
4. To distance the Obama administration from the triple bloc’s dealings with the Palestinian Islamist factions.
5. To keep the Europeans from interfering in those dealings.
The foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and Italy meeting in Brussels offered Friday to take charge of Gaza’s border crossings and work to prevent illegal arms flows. Saturday, Cairo, Jerusalem and Ramallah politely informed Brussels that they preferred to handle this situation on their own and no European diplomatic or security assistance was needed.
The quiet shaping of this three-way alliance for resolving the Gaza conflict, by means of a sustainable cessation of hostilities, kept most of Israel’s and world media guessing, says DEBKAfile. In the interests of tight secrecy, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon chose to keep the rest of the cabinet in the dark as well, incurring loud complaints from ministers.
The proposition the three partners have formulated puts Hamas and Jihad on the spot. The Arab world has abandoned them and their only source of funding is Tehran. So their choices are grim: Face an escalated war that Israel will fight until the bitter end, or swallow hard and accept the only proposition on the table which is tantamount to disarmament and capitulation.
Their isolation is complete. The Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have managed to cut Hamas away from any backing in Washington, Qatar and Turkey as well as blocking its path to Moscow.
To encourage Hamas to choose the right path, the Israel Air Force is cruising around-the-clock over Hamas bases and command centers in the Gaza Strip, ready at a signal to switch to the offensive if the Palestinian fundamentalists make the wrong choice in Cairo. Mahmoud Abbas, who appeared to be sitting on the sidelines of the Gaza conflict during Israel’s month-long military operation, finally threw in his lot with Sisi and Netanyahu when it came to the crunch.