Hamas has already violated the cease-fire negotiated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government. According to sources within Israel, air raid sirens sounded in the city of Beer Sheva as the cease-fire went into effect at 9 p.m. local time, and rocket attacks were reported elsewhere across the south.
In addition, as reported by Israeli blogger Jameel at “The Muqata,” a new poll released by Israel’s Channel 2 indicates that 70% of Israelis oppose a cease-fire, and only 24% support one. (The poll was conducted before today’s announcement of a cease-fire agreement.) 64% of Israelis believe a cease-fire will not last. A smaller majority, 58%, believes that Operation Pillar of Defense strengthened Israel’s deterrent; 15% say it is weaker.
The cease-fire agreement came as Israel scored hit after hit on Hamas terror infrastructure, including Iranian-made long-range rockets–but also shortly after a terror attack on a bus in Tel Aviv for which Hamas claimed responsibility. The timing may allow Hamas to claim a political and strategic victory, especially as its rockets reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time during the week-long conflict.
Pressure from the United States undoubtedly played a role, as the Obama administration was reluctant to see Israel launch a ground war in Gaza, and Clinton may have threatened to close the purse strings of aid to Egypt.
Other polls showed that Israelis, who supported the aerial assault on Gaza, were far more reluctant to back a ground campaign that could take weeks and involve casualties to Israeli soldiers, including reservists. Yet the Israeli public seems convinced that Hamas has not been sufficiently crippled and that more needed to be done.