Israel, US will not end war on Gaza, say Palestinian officials

Currently, mediation efforts led by Qatar and Egypt are attempting to bridge the gap between Hamas and Israel to accept US President Joe Biden’s proposal announced on 31 May. [Getty]

Neither the US nor Israel will commit to an end to the war on Gaza as they try to achieve their own political goals, namely dismantling Hamas in the besieged coastal enclave, Palestinian officials and analysts say. 

Currently, mediation efforts led by Qatar and Egypt are attempting to bridge the gap between Hamas and Israel to accept US President Joe Biden’s proposal announced on 31 May.

On Tuesday, Hamas officially delivered its response to Biden’s plan with some amendments. The group stressed its priority for a “complete stop” to the war and rebuke what they called an Israeli “spin” that claims that the Palestinian movement had rejected the truce offer.

“The amendments to the plan were not significant. Now the ball is in the court of Israel and the US, who is protecting and help Israel in its war against our people in Gaza,” a senior official of Hamas, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The New Arab

The Hamas official further denied Israeli reports that the movement rejected the proposal. “We have not rejected the proposal, but we know very well neither the US nor Israel are ready to commit to a ceasefire in Gaza soon… Both of them are evasive in accepting solutions to finalize the deal,” the official said. 

“Every time the United States claims that Hamas rejects the deal, but there is a lack of clarity in the terms presented to us, so we’re responding with inquiries and demands that allow us to end the suffering of our people and achieve a final ceasefire,” he argued. 

“The world is becoming very aware that the United States of America is playing a fundamental role in the war on Gaza and is the one that is helping Israel with military, political and economic resources. Simply put, the US cannot be an honest mediator while it is leading the war on the Gaza Strip,” he added. 

This was why Hamas asked for “written guarantees” from the US for a permanent ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, according to Taher al-Nono, a senior official of Hamas. 

“Hamas has concerns that the current proposal does not provide explicit guarantees for moving from the first phase of the plan, which includes a six-week truce and the release of some hostages, to the second phase, which includes a permanent ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal,” al-Nono remarked to TNA

He explained that Hamas will accept the plan if it receives guarantees, and Egypt is in contact with the United States on that particular demand.

“To achieve this,” he added, “we have asked Russia, Turkey, China and the United Nations to join as guarantors of this agreement.”

Israel’s war on Gaza, now in its ninth month, has killed 37,164 Palestinians—mostly women and children—and injured at least 85,000 people. 

“The repeated failure [of mediation efforts for a ceasefire] was not because of Hamas; it because of the US-Israel veto in ending the war in Gaza unless both the US and Israel succeeded in changing the reality in the Middle East starting from Gaza,” Talal Okal, a Palestinian analyst, said to TNA

“Whenever the US declares the two sides [Israel and Hamas] approaching a deal, its declaration usually comes just before or just after an Israeli massacre as a means by the US to distract the world on Israel’s actions in Gaza,” Okal argued. 

Shortly after Biden’s announcement of a proposal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted his country would still pursue the war until it had reached all its aims. “Israel’s conditions for ending the war have not changed: the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, the freeing of all hostages and ensuring that Gaza no longer poses a threat to Israel,” the Israeli prime minister vowed.

For its part, Hamas said it views positively the proposal laid out by Biden and has publicly accepted a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution was adopted a few days ago. “Hamas is ready to negotiate over the details”, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters on Tuesday. 

“So far, Israel did not officially announce its approval of the Security Council resolution, nor did it clearly approve Biden’s declaration calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,” Okal noted. 

“We can say that the Security Council resolution will remain ink on paper without serious implementation on the ground because Israel relies completely and fundamentally on the US (which is considered a primary partner in the war on Gaza), and it gives Israel political and economic cover to achieve far-fetched goals in its war on Gaza,” he added. 

Okal’s assessment was also shared by Hussam al-Dajani, another Palestinian political expert. “I am afraid that the Security Council resolution and Biden’s proposal are nothing more than one of US and Israel‘s tricks to cover up Israel’s massacres in the Gaza Strip,” he told TNA

“If the US wants to see an end to the war, why did it use its veto on several proposals submitted by other countries such as Algeria, Russia, and China while it wants to appear today as a preacher for human rights?” al-Dajani asked. 

“Israel does not abide by international resolutions, so the negotiations will be very difficult, especially after Netanyahu and his team got rid of Gantz and Galant, which means that his extremist allies will be the ones who lead the final decisions of those negotiations, and they will most likely encourage more and more crimes against humanity in the Strip,” he concluded. 

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