Israel’s acceptance of the Egyptian ceasefire proposal indicated a desire to avoid further escalation including the introduction of ground troops. It was also a signal that additional neutralization of Hamas’ firepower will be more difficult. Israel has avoided any serious losses so far but does not want to test its good fortune.
In addition, Iron Dome is a remarkably successful defense system but also an exceedingly expensive one. Each battery costs $50 million and each missile costs $62,000. Israel has reportedly shot in excess of 200 incoming missiles to date costing approximately $12 million. While the success rate is excellent Iron Dome eventually will miss an incoming rocket which could strike citizens.
Hamas’ decision to reject the Egyptian offer suggests that they indeed will not be ready until Israel truly bleeds real blood and absorbs a serious strike on Israel’s population. The Hamas leadership has not achieved much success in the eyes of their people who appear to be growing increasingly frustrated with the war. In addition, Hamas leaders must clearly have been embarrassed when Arabs in the North of Gaza followed Israeli instructions to evacuate and avoid being caught in harm’s way should the fighting escalate. The Gazans moved out despite the fact that the Hamas leaders called upon them to stay.
There is also a curious way in which this effort at a cease-fire evolved. There was no obvious U.S. leadership in setting forth terms. There also was no noticeable Egyptian political source who stepped forward to claim the role of mediator. This was due in part at least to the fact that the Egyptians and especially this new Government dislikes the Hamas leaders, presumably because they are aligned with some of the radical Islamists. In fact it had the sounds of the Saudi’s involvement, as they historically do not like watching Muslims being beaten up by the Dhimmi. Meanwhile, Secretary Kerry and all the Western leaders are in Vienna negotiating with the other “bad” guy on the bloc—the Iranians. They are figuring that dealing successfully, they hope, with the Iranian nuclear threat could be far more productive than the irreconcilable conflict in Gaza. o