This new development wherein Hamas offers a truce with Israel smells suspiciously like Egypt. As usual, the headline is striking: Hamas Offers Gaza Truce with Israel. Everyone is thinking, fuck yeah! Finally! But when you've seen headlines like this over and over, you become skeptical. The first thing to be done when investigating the truth of such headlines is to find out where the information is coming from. In this case, the news is straight from Reuter's Cairo correspondent. Hm.
Then, one must consider the recent events preceding the headline. In this case, former president Jimmy Carter just ended a peacekeeping mission to Gaza which was declared unsuccessful by West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leaders. But suddenly Egypt has the solution: just stop shooting at each other.
Thirdly, and most importantly, does Egypt have a stake in this thing?
The Egyptian intelligence chief, who is in regular contact with the Israelis, has been trying to negotiate a truce between Israel and Hamas, especially since Palestinians broke through the border with Egypt in January to escape a long Israeli siege.
Oh, ok. So Egypt is like, shitshit we're being overrun by penniless refugees! How can we get this to stop?
And, what does this actually mean?
A Palestinian official close to the talks said the Hamas delegation would tell Suleiman it is prepared to accept the idea of a staged truce, starting with Gaza only.
A nameless official affiliated with which Palestinian faction? Oh right, we don't know. And when is Hamas going to tell Egypt they like this truce? Again, we don't know. What have we actually learned so far? That Egypt would like refugees from Gaza to stop pouring into their country, thank you very much.
And, finally, what Israel has to say about this:
"We are not holding our breath," a senior Israeli official said.
Israel has said it is not negotiating a truce with Hamas but would have no reason to launch attacks on the Gaza Strip if rocket fire from the territory ceased.
Do I detect a hint of smugness here? You can almost see them shrugging their shoulders. Israel knows very well they have superior resources and control of Gaza's port. In the short run, they don't have enough of a motivation for a truce.