Hamas has called a cease-fire, claiming it will temporarily suspend attacks against Israel:
“Hamas has studied all the developments and has reached a decision to call a truce, or a suspension of fighting activities,” Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin told Reuters.
He said the cease-fire carried conditions and a timeframe but declined to give details or indicate when a truce would be announced. Hamas, dedicated to Israel’s destruction, has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings.
For those hailing this as a breakthrough, it’s important to remember that optimism is usually misplaced when it comes to Mideast politics. Firstly, Hamas has not said it will accept Israel’s existence or that it will stop attacks for a long time. This is merely a tactical truce, giving Hamas time to reorganize and regroup. Secondly, if Israel is attacked and reacts, it will be Israel that is criticized internationally for “breaking the cease-fire”.
Hamas is still committed to Israel’s destruction. Israel’s foreign ministry called the cease-fire “poison covered in honey”, and there’s certainly something to that.
On the other hand, if even one innocent life is saved because of the cease-fire, then far be it for me to condemn it. And hey, maybe I’m being too cynical. Maybe this is a first and important step towards a strong and lasting peace.
Maybe pigs will fly, too.