The Israelis do not abide by truces or understandings, and this has always been the case with the Arabs since 1948. How many times did the Israelis cross the lines set by the armistice agreements they agreed upon with the Arabs? How many times have they attacked facilities and individuals and harmed crops and wells?
This same experience was repeated after 1967, specifically after the intensification of the Palestinian resistance. The Israelis reached understandings regarding the ceasefire in southern Lebanon with the PLO, but they never committed to it. Recently, an agreement was made between Israel and Hamas regarding the exchange of prisoners. Hamas adhered to its obligations, while the Israelis re-arrested a large number of Palestinians who were released, and they still haven’t released the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners. They reached an agreement after the 2014 war that allowed them to build an airport and a seaport in Gaza, but they did not do so, and continued to refuse to open the Rafah Crossing except for a few days to give the people a release.
Now the media is talking about an opportunity to reach a truce between the resistance in Gaza and Israel. Such talk occurs at a time when the Israelis feel upset and pushed into a corner due to the Great March of Return, the development of the resistance’s military capabilities, and the resistance’s adoption of a new strategy focusing on responding to bombing with bombing. This strategy has perplexed the occupation because it can no longer carry out military operations in Gaza without the settlers in southern Palestine rushing to shelters. We have noticed that Israel, in cooperation with the Western colonisers, is dangling the carrot and the stick in front of Gaza at the same time. On one hand, the West is saying they are willing to provide financial aid to Gaza to improve the conditions of people and for reconstruction. On the other hand, the Israeli warplanes are launching painful blows to Gaza in order to push them to accept the Western carrot, of course for prices they have not yet disclosed.
It seems that Egypt is overseeing the arrangements for a long-term truce, but we do not know how long for. It is important to bear in mind that Egypt has sponsored many understandings and agreements, but has done nothing in the face of Israel’s violations of what was agreed upon. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that international bodies are present in order to take action against those who violate what is agreed upon.
We have noticed that the Israelis prefer the unwritten agreements, and always want verbal understandings. The reason is that they do not want to commit, and prefer to remain free in their military and security movements. On the other hand, Israel does not want to be party to an agreement with those it claims to be terrorists. Meanwhile, the Palestinian side does not enter into agreements written and signed by the Israelis because it does not recognise Israel. In any case, the Palestinian resistance should change the way it deals with the implementation of agreements or understandings in a manner ensuring that the Israelis commit to the implementation of them. The countries sponsoring an understanding or agreement are also required to take action against those who do not comply.
The most important point in all the talk of a truce is related to the following question: Will the Israelis accept a truce that does not restrict the military activity of the resistance? I believe that the Israelis will demand a freeze on the military situation of the resistance, in other words stop the smuggling weapons and the smuggling of materials for military manufacturing. It will also demand the establishment of a multilateral committee to monitor the resistance’s military activities, both in terms of training and organisation. There is no way the Israelis will accept a truce that allows the resistance to continue its military preparations and develop its missile capabilities, and they will require this without the condition being reciprocal. That is, the Israelis will continue to prepare and develop their weapons, as well as receive military assistance from Western countries.
Herein lies a big flaw as the Israelis can monitor the situation in Gaza through their advanced technical capabilities and through their agents on the ground. Meanwhile, Gaza does not have mechanisms to monitor the Israelis. The Israelis automatically hear the alarm bells ringing for them, but the Palestinians generally are unable to know what is happening with the Israelis except through the international or Israeli media of from some international non-governmental organisations.
The Palestinian resistance is not expected to accept the monitoring of its military and weapons activities because this would kill it. Monitoring would mean the exposure of the resistance’s reserves and its management of the tunnels. It would also reveal the different types of weapons and missiles it possesses, etc. therefore, I do not believe a truce will be reached between the Israelis and the Palestinian resistance, led by Hamas. It is best for the resistance and the Palestinian factions in general not to enter into compromises regarding their existence and the Palestinian cause in general, as historically, we always lose the concessions battles. The PLO, which was stripped of everything in the end without obtaining any of the Palestinians’ national rights is a stark reminder for everyone.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 16 August 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.