World View: Egypt's Mohamed Morsi Big Winner in Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Agreement

World View: Egypt's Mohamed Morsi Big Winner in Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Agreement

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Israel-Hamas agreement leaves many details unspecified
  • Islamic Jihad confirms that the Gaza missiles were supplied by iran
  • The winners: Mohamed Morsi, Khaled Meshaal; the losers: Mahmoud Abbas, Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  • Hamas celebrates Tel Aviv bus bombing
  • Turkey asks Nato for Patriot missiles for border with Syria

Israel-Hamas agreement leaves many details unspecified

Celebrations in Gaza over the cease fire agreement
Celebrations in Gaza over the cease fire agreement

There’s a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the Egypt-brokeredcease fire agreement signed by Israel and Hamas on Wednesday. Thesigned agreement is one page long, though there are apparentlyadditional unstated agreements. As far as is known, here are theterms:

  • Both sides agree to halt all hostilities, with Israel desisting from incursions and targeting of individuals, while all Palestinian factions should cease rocket fire and cross-border attacks.
  • It says little about the Hamas demand to lift the blockade around Gaza. It calls for an easing of some restrictions on Gaza residents, but says that procedures for implementing them would be “dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.”
  • It says nothing about the Israeli demand that Iran not be allowed to re-arm Hamas with thousands of new missiles. However, there are unconfirmed reports that the United States and Egypt are somehow supposed to guarantee that missiles will flow into Gaza. How that might happen is completely unexplained.
  • Hamas is to enforce the ban on rocket fire into Israel, even by other jihadist militias operating within Gaza. Hamas have never succeeded in doing that before, so it’s not clear how it will be done now.

Israeli forces and tanks have been camped on the border with Gaza forseveral days, prepared for a ground invasion, and they are remainingin place for the time being. Israel may reduce the size of the forcein the next few days, depending on how things turn out.

There is considerable skepticism that the ceasefire will last long,but for the time being, everyone is pretending to be optimistic.Irish Times and LA Times

Islamic Jihad confirms that the Gaza missiles were supplied by Iran

Prior to the ceasefire, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadhan Abdallah Shalahconfirmed that the missiles were supplied by Iran:

“With regard to the Iranian position – even if we havedisagreements with Iran regarding the situation in Syria, I don’tthink that we, as the Palestinian resistance, have disagreementswith Iran regarding what is happening in Palestine, or regardingthe Zionist aggression against the Gaza Strip. With regard toPalestine, we are in complete agreement with Iran. Iran has givenus all the aid and all the support. The weapons that are fightingthe Israeli aggression and arrogance in Palestine come mainly fromIran, as the entire world knows. This is no secret. These areeither Iranian weapons or weapons financed by Iran.”

Islamic Jihad Deputy Secretary-General Ziyad Nakhala said:

“We are on the brink of a great victory, Allahwilling. This is a new stage in the conflict with the Zionistenterprise. …

This wonderful weapon has proven its significant role inbattle. The missiles have changed the balance of power, and haveproven to Israel that we can shell their cities like they shellours, and that we can shell their military camps like they shellour children. …

These missiles have restored the honor of the Palestinianpeople. We received these missiles from our allies and brothers inthe Islamic Republic. They have generally given us these missiles,exerting great effort. These missiles have changed the equation inthis conflict.”


The winners: Mohamed Morsi, Khaled Meshaal; the losers: Mahmoud Abbas, Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi emerged as the major winner in thenegotiation that ended with a peace agreement between Israel andHamas. Morsi was able to accomplish a lot more than the deposedpresident Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak never particularly liked Hamas, andhe cooperated fully with Israel by keeping the border between Gaza andEgypt sealed. But Hamas was originally an offshoot of the MuslimBrotherhood, of which Morsi is a leading member, and from the start ofhis presidency he made his sympathy for the Gazans clear. At the sametime, he maintained friendly, if distant, relations with Israel, andadamantly refused to abrogate the 1979 peace treaty with Israel,despite some domestic demands that he do so.

Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a major loser in thenegotiations. Erdogan strategy for several years has been to becomethe leader in the Sunni Arab world, regaining some of the prestigethat Turkey once held as leader of the Ottoman Empire. Part of thatstrategy has been to end normal relations with Israel, but thatstrategy really backfired this past week, as it essentiallydisqualified him as a negotiator between Israel and Hamas.

Another major loser was Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.Abbas is nominally the major negotiating partner with Israel innegotiations for a two-state solution (Israel and Palestine) in theMideast, and is currently scheduled to come to the United NationsGeneral Assembly on November 29 to obtain recognition of a Palestinianstate.

Instead, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has become something of asuperstar, and was seen frequently on Wednesday declaring victory overIsrael. Hamas has become “someone you can do business with.”Washington Post

Hamas celebrates Tel Aviv bus bombing

Prior to the ceasefire announcement, a terrorist bomb exploded on abus in Tel Aviv, injuring 23 people, one severely. Hamas did not takecredit for the bombing, but said: “Hamas blesses the attack in TelAviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres…inGaza.” Jerusalem Post

Turkey asks Nato for Patriot missiles for border with Syria

Now that the Gaza problem has been “solved,” it’s time to startfocusing again on the conflict in Syria.

Nato member Turkey has asked Nato to provide advanced Patriotmissiles to be deployed on the border with Syria. Natoambassadors met on Wednesday to discuss the request “without delay.”

The Patriot missile system performs the same function as Israel’s IronDome missile system in the Gaza war — to intercept and knock downincoming missiles. The Patriot system can also target aircraft.

According to Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said:

“Such a deployment would augment Turkey’s air-defensecapabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey. Itwould contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO’ssoutheastern border.”

The Patriot systems would not be supplied by Nato. They would besupplied by the individual Nato members that actually have thesesystems — Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S.

Since Turkey already has a big air force, it’s not clear what’sgoing on here. There have been stray mortar shells from Syrialanding in Turkey the last few weeks, and several people have beenkilled, but Patriot missiles are not designed for stray mortarshells.

There are two possible purposes for these Patriot missiles. One is tohelp establish a no-fly zone over Syria. The other is for defense incase of a Syrian attack, especially with chemical weapons. Turkeysays that neither of these is planned.

Whatever the intent, the introduction of a Patriot missile systemsignals an escalation of the Syrian conflict, and greater Natoinvolvement. Guardian (London) and BBC

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