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The Cease Fire Deal: Are there Any Winners?

The Cease Fire Deal: Are there Any Winners?
27 November 2012
By Hani Abu-Aushiba

Earlier this evening, a cease fire was announced between the Israeli government and Hamas and came to an effect an hour ago. It is early to predict who the big winner in of this deal is; however, examining the stakeholders’ role in how the cease fire came about might help us to point out winners and losers.

Egypt:

In this equation, Egypt seems to be a short-term loser. In his reaction to the attacks on Gaza, President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi declared that “aggression on Gaza is unacceptable”. Despite this declaration and its harsh tone, it did not bring anything new that had not been done under the former regime of Mubarak. However, by contrast to the old regime rhetoric, by far was very supportive of Hamas in general and Palestinian resistance in particular. Furthermore, his insistence on cease fire has been documented to annoy the Israeli government as it has displayed his support for Hamas given the ideological ties between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. What is annoying about Egypt role in the deal is the absence of an Israeli solid promise to fully lift the siege. The inability to explicitly seize that from Israel brings back the memory the role of the Mubarak regime. So, the outcome so far is the same.

Abbas and the PA:

The fact that cease fire was orchestrated away from the PA chairman is by itself a blow to his policy and the peace camp he is leading. Abbas appears to the biggest loser in this deal. The Swap Deal last year has already shown the weakness of the PA and Mr. Abbas compared the resistance camp led by Hamas and other Palestinian factions. In an article published in Foreign Policy; and this is heavily supported by ample facts on the ground, JonhthanSchanzer asked whether Hamas was upstaging the PLO. During the eight day war on Gaza, tragically Abbas showed complete inability; furthermore he was pushed aside along with his fight for recognition in the UN. I wonder what seem to make appear so incapacitated.

Israel & Netanyahu:

Another loser in this deal is Israel. The 2008/2009 Cast Lead war on Gaza and previous has shown unequivocally the inability of Israel to have a long term strategy in Gaza, argued Brent E. Sasley. Simply, Israel cannot keep besieging and suffocating Palestinian while favoring and limiting itself the military option only. Sticking to only the military option within the context of new political landscape in the region will only further the isolation of Israel, gives the peace process a little hope in the future. The unwillingness of Israel to politically maneuver and accept the fact that limiting all the option to just the military option has one implication: peace has little hope to be achieved with the security formula.

While I argued earlier that Israel is losing in this due to a lack of long term strategy in dealing with Gaza, on the individual level Netanyahu emerged once again as the savior of Israel from the wrath of its enemy. Accordingly, he leveraged his politics and in terms of his popularity by acting quickly yet carefully to where Israel is heading. While Pillar of Cloud did not achieve the stated goals of crippling Hamas’ rocket arsenal, Netanyahu was able to pull off a clear military victory and dragging both of the US and Egypt into being the guarantors of the cease fire deal. One might argue that Netanyahu will suffer a sever loss in the upcoming election; however, Israeli polls show that the right wing collation still has the ability to seize a notable victory.

Hamas & the Palestinian Resistance:

When I talk about victory achieved by the Palestinian, I strictly use it as a reference to Symbolic Victory.For Hamas, this is the second victory in about a little over a year. The Swap Deal has clearly set up Hamas at the fore front of the leadership by proving that only resistance can get Palestinians’ rights back. With the recent geopolitical changes in the Middle East, Hamas found itself strongly supported by key players in politics of the region (Egypt, Turkey, and Qatar). With the decline of the popularity and the obvious weakness of Mr. Abbas, Hamas’s solid commitment to its resistance camp and recognition from the outside world makes the PLO and the PA less relevant to the Palestinian politics. It is worth noting that it was Netanyahu who isolated the Palestinian issue off the international scenes. Despite the Israeli efforts to marginalize the Palestine question, the recent attacks on Gaza has raised a considerable international pressure on Israel, and the world slowly but surely more aware of the Israeli offensive policies in dealing with the Palestinians. To put back Palestine on the map of the international community is truly a victory for the Palestinians.

Hani Abuishaiba, a media & policy analyst from Gaza City. He is a researcher at the Center for Political and Development Studies, CPDS.


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