News Release

Israeli “Ceasefire” “PR Exercise” as Bombing Continues

The Jerusalem Post reports: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Hamas for powering through a ceasefire with Israel, brokered by the Egyptian government and accepted by Israel’s cabinet Tuesday morning.”

Amira Hass, a noted Israeli journalist, said this morning on “Democracy Now!” that: “Hamas feels it was a proposal brought up with Israel, without consultation with Hamas and brought up through the media and not brought up through negotiations with them. Everyone knows the leadership of Egypt right now is an enemy of Hamas. … They feel it is not meant to bring progress and change to the people in Gaza, but to marginalize them [Hamas] as a political movement.” (shortly after 15:00 mark)

Yair Rosenberg of the Israeli Archives tweeted Monday: “As written, ceasefire proposal is huge win for Netanyahu & Sisi: Hamas doesn’t get prisoners released or any changes to border arrangements.”

ELIZABETH MURRAY, emurray404 at aol.com
Available for a limited number of interviews, Murray served as deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. Her writing appears at Consortium News.

Murray wrote the piece “Killing People as ‘Mowing the Lawn’: How Israeli Hardliners and Official Washington Dehumanize the People of Palestine” in 2012, during another major Israeli bombing of Gaza.

RANIA KHALEK, [in D.C. area] raniakhalek at gmail.com, @RaniaKhalek
Last week Khalek’s piece “ABC News tells viewers that scenes of destruction in Gaza are in Israel” helped compel ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer to issue a rare on-air apology. Calling it a “sham ceasefire,” Khalek tweeted this morning: “To media outlets reporting that Hamas rejected a ceasefire it was never consulted on, you’re complicit in a set-up.” Khalek’s recently wrote the piece “Israel Firing Experimental Weapons at Gaza’s Civilians, Say Doctors.”

VIJAY PRASHAD, Vijay.Prashad at trincoll.edu, @vijayprashad
Prashad is chair of South Asian history and professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford. He is also a columnist for Frontline (Chennai, India) and co-editor of Dispatches from the Arab Spring. He said today: “The ‘ceasefire’ offered by Egypt came through in a most idiosyncratic fashion. It was announced to the media, which is where Hamas leadership said that they saw it. Egypt had not conducted the kind of back channel negotiations with Israel and the Palestinian factions to ensure a ceasefire. In other words, this was not a ceasefire — it was an Egyptian offer.

“Israel said it would honor the ‘truce’ — largely as a PR exercise. Within hours it began its barrage on Gaza. A genuine ceasefire would have created a mechanism to contain violence and to investigate evidence of attacks (in other words, what if Hamas had accepted a ceasefire, but a rogue group fired a rocket — would that be a violation? There would have to be mechanism to ascertain if the ceasefire had been broken). A real ceasefire is necessary.”

Note: The Israeli government late last week dismissed a Hamas offer of a ceasefire. See Times of Israel: ‘Hamas official: Prisoners in exchange for ceasefire‘ and Ma’an news agency: ‘Hamas demands release of re-arrested prisoners before ceasefire.’ This was about Israel re-arresting Hamas members after they were released as part of the exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The response by Netanyahu: “Israel presses Gaza assault as Hamas rockets fly; Netanyahu rules out cease-fire” (Washington Post, July 10) and “Gaza ceasefire not on agenda: Netanyahu” (Press TV, July 14).

As’ad AbuKhalil on his blog has repeatedly noted that the New York Times on July 9 offered a truncated report: “In a televised speech from Qatar, the Hamas political chief, Khaled Meshal, blamed Israel for the conflict and rejected mediation efforts. ‘We receive calls from mediators from Arab and Western sides to broker a cease-fire,’ he said. ‘We say to those who ask us for a lull: Go back!’” But AbuKhalil writes that the “original rest of the sentence is: ‘go back to the root-cause and pressure Netanyahu.’”

See @accuracy list of resources on Israel/Palestine:
https://twitter.com/accuracy/lists/israel-palestine