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Gaza cease fire proposals ongoing amid confusion

By Ken Hanly     Jul 20, 2014 in Politics
Gaza - An early cease fire proposal supported by Egypt, Israel, Abbas, and others without consultation with Hamas failed. However, there is considerable diplomatic activity attempting to forge a new proposal that will gain approval from Hamas as well.
Egypt claims it has no plans to revise its earlier proposal. Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shuki said at a news conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius: "It provides for the needs of all sides and we will continue offering it and we hope to get their support as soon as possible."
Egypt has declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Hamas the group that rules the Gaza Strip is an offshoot of the Brotherhood. Egypt has kept the one crossing from Gaza to Egypt at Rafah closed much of the time and has also destroyed many tunnels into Egypt which provide supplies to the strip. The military wing of Hamas are the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Much of the activity of Hamas has nothing to do with terrorism but various welfare activities that make it popular among many Palestinians: Its popularity stems in part from its welfare wing providing social services to Palestinians in the occupied territories. Such services are not generally provided by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli scholar Reuven Paz estimates that 90% of Hamas activities revolve around "social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities". Social services include running relief programs and funding schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues.
Egypt has just recently refused to allow an aid convoy of eleven buses with 500 activists to deliver aid to Gaza through the Rafah crossing.
When the last ceasefire was negotiated with Hamas, the president of Egypt was Mohamed Morsi himself a Brotherhood member and so there was some trust between Egypt and Hamas. This time President al-Sisi who lead the coup that overthrew Morsi is a sworn enemy of Hamas. Countries such as Qatar and to some extent Turkey are now taking the place of Egypt. Even so, Egypt will still be involved in mediation as will the US another enemy of Hamas.
Qatar is reported to have passed on an initiative to US Secretary of State John Kerry to pass on to Israel. However, Israel denies having received any such document. Later reports say that Qatar has back-tracked from its position and now supports a new Egyptian proposal. In spite of an earlier statement mentioned above that it has no intention of revising its original proposal Egypt seems to be doing just that in an attempt to bring Hamas into the picture.
Hamas senior official in Cairo, Mousa Marzook, said: "There is communication with Egypt. There are no ceasefire negotiations at the moment, but rather an exchange of opinions," Marzouk even said that he saw Egypt as a key mediator in the conflict but added that Hamas would continue fighting for the moment: "We want to achieve something for the Palestinian people in Gaza. We don't want to go back to square one."
There are reports that the Hamas political bureau chief Mashal has been invited to Cairo and that Egypt will present to him a new initiative for a ceasefire. The initiative would ensure security for Israel through the two parties cooperation with international bodies but also relieve the siege of Gaza a key Hamas demand. The devil will be in the details. US Secretary of State John Kerry has been sent to Cairo to help mediate an agreement.
Hamas' demands can be found at this Israeli news site.. One demand is that Israel undo the effect of their Operation Brother's Keeper. initiated after the kidnapping of three Israeli teens who were later found murdered: " Israel will complete its obligations from the Shalit deal, including the release of Palestinian prisoners who were freed as a part of the deal and re-arrested during the West Bank operation.
Israel will end all collective punishments and actions against the Palestinians in the West Bank that were put in place since the kidnapping and murder of the three Israel teenagers.
Israel will release all of the suspects arrested during the operation, among them the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Duwaik...."
Israel charged Hamas with the kidnapping of the three. Two Hamas members are suspects as they disappeared after the kidnapping but other groups even ISIS have claimed responsibility. Here are some of the actions carried out during Operation Brother's Keeper: As part of the operation, in the following 11 days Israel arrested around 350 Palestinians,[6][7][8] including nearly all of Hamas' West Bank leaders.[9] Five Palestinians were killed during the military operation. As the appended video shows Brother's Keeper also targeted RT in Ramallah.
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