The Gaza Truce

The truce (hudna) between the Israelis and Hamas, mediated by the Egyptian authority, finally came into effect on 19 June. A few hours before the truce officially started, both sides launched series of deadly attacked against the other causing death and injuries on both sides.

The truce is a political win for Hamas as it provides much awaited relief for the besieged Gazans. The Egyptians have the responsibility to take the initiatives in creating calm in the region. Not many people in this world would stand seeing other humans slowly dying out of hunger and diseases, in front of their eyes. Neither would the majority of the Egyptians close their hearts to their suffering Gazans neighbors.

The Egyptian government has only two choices with regards to the situation in Gaza; help to lighten the Gaza siege or face domestic political fallout. The latter would seem more grave for both the Israelis and Egyptian government. Thus, when the Egyptian went to talk to Israelis, only a simple message would do – accept truce or we have to open Rafah crossing.

Both sides do not believe the truce would hold long. But the side the first breach the truce would pay high price, politically. It is the Israelis that are really looking forward to see the collapse of the truce. As for Hamas, the calm would provide more room for them to win the ground. Not many elected governments in the world could manage hungry population to behave accordingly, and Hamas could be counted as one. Any other elected government could face popular revolt and subsequently fall apart.

Now, Hamas is opening new front to its political progress by initiating national dialogue with its rival Fatah. Fatah is trying to capitalize this talk with Hamas to position itself in a peace talk with the Israelis. The message Fatah is trying to deliver to Israel is – if the Israelis refuse to listen to them, they would talk to Hamas. If Fatah talks to Hamas, it could bring legitimacy to Hamas as a new player in middle east politics. This would also be the last thing Israel would want to happen.

Israel is a very strong country, economically and militarily. But the strength it has built over past decades could only be matched with Palestinians steadfastness. One needs not to be strong to be steadfast. Let’s pray one day our Palestinian brothers would have both, the strength and steadfastness.