HISTORIC: Israel Reaches Ceasefire with Hamas

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli military reached a ceasefire with Sunni militant group Hamas after the Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on a nightly basis against nearly 100 targets belonging to the Sunni organization in the Gaza Strip.

“Over the last weeks, Hamas launched rockets, explosive and arson balloons from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilians. In addition, a number of violent riots were instigated along the Gaza Strip security fence,” the IDF declared in a statement. “In response, the IDF struck approximately 100 military targets belonging to Hamas during 19 nights.”

Some of the targets attacked throughout the Gaza Strip included “approximately 35 weapons-manufacturing and armament targets, some 30 underground workshops and underground infrastructures, a number of military compounds, approximately 10 aerial platforms belonging to Hamas (drones and anti-aircraft missile equipment), a number of military naval targets and over 20 observation posts,” per the Jerusalem Post report.

“The strikes of these terror sites constitute a significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure and force generation capabilities,” the military stated. It added that “the IDF is ready to operate as necessary in order to defend Israeli citizens living in the Gaza envelope and in southern Israel.”

On the morning of September 1, IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Hidai Zilberman spoke before Army Radio and Kan Radio, declaring that “last night’s statement by Hamas is due to a change in our policy of sovereignty violation.”

Zilberman attributed the airstrikes as well as “the severe sanctions we placed on them”, which includes the closing of “the crossings and fishing zone as well as the stopping of fuel for Gaza’s electricity” to the eventual decision to hold a ceasefire. Zilberman also noted that the pressing concern surrounding the Wuhan virus outbreak in the Gaza Strip along with Qatar’s promise to give the Palestinian resistance group aid contributed to bringing an end to the violence.

“At the end of the day, the strikes, sanctions, corona, and money is what brought them to make their statement,” the spokesperson declared.

Hamas, on the other hand, offered a different take on the matter. They credited Qatari mediation during this conflict as a key factor in bringing about a ceasefire and saw this cessation in conflict as a big victory for the Palestinians.“The Palestinian resistance achieved new measures to ease the siege and confront the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip, contrary to Israel’s desire,” declared Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Qanou.

“This is an important step towards ending to the siege of the Gaza Strip and achieving a dignified life for our people. Many vital projects will be implemented with generous Qatari funding, and the Palestinians will feel them in the coming days, including those that serve the various sectors affected by the blockade and the coronavirus.”

After the ceasefire announcement was made on August 31, Qatar revealed that it will increase its financial grant to the Gaza Strip twofold in the month of September to $17 million. Seven million of the aforementioned grant will go to individuals negatively impacted by the pandemic, whereas $10 million will be allocated towards needy families.

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi, a key player in the ceasefire negotiations, said that Qatar will supply all the medical supplies and equipment needed to help the Gaza Strip stave off the increasing number of Wuhan virus infections.

“During the coming hours, an advanced device for examining coronavirus will be provided to the Gaza Strip, in addition to 20,000 testing kits,” he stated.

Al-Emadi observed that the past few days of discussions have helped both sides reach an agreement “to stabilize calm and return matters to what they were before the recent escalation, in preparation for the implementation of a number of projects that serve the people of the Gaza Strip and contribute to alleviating the effects of the blockade imposed on them for years.”

He also noted that the ceasefire agreement came after a phone call between the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Ismail Haniyeh, the Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau.

“The Hamas leadership in Gaza displayed responsibility until we reached this agreement, taking into account the difficult circumstances and conditions that the residents live in, especially in light of the spread of the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip,” al-Emadi declared.

Palestinian political analyst Khaled al-Najjar viewed the agreement as a victory for Hamas and Palestinian factions. “I believe that the resistance has largely broken the blockade, especially in wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus and the international changes that serve Israel,” al-Najjar commented. “The resistance was able to force the enemy to accept its conditions.”

It’s good to see that Israel and its internal rivals are able to sort out their problems in a manner that does not always involve U.S. mediation.

Israel is a developed nation that is very capable of managing its internal affairs and does not need the U.S. always looking over its shoulder and trying to foment conflic

The Trump administration has at least taken a pragmatic approach to Middle Eastern affairs by allowing powerbrokers such as Israel to take the lead on security. This gets the defense contractors angry, but the Trump administration is here to put the interests of Americans first, not narrow interest groups nor countries that are capable of defending themselves.

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