Over the course of the current conflict, Hamas has turned down several ceasefire attempts, while Israel has agreed to the terms. The terrorist organization has conditioned any cessation of its rocketing campaign on Israel lifting its blockade of Gaza -- which was made necessary by previous Hamas attacks, and the purpose of which is to interdict additional weapons to be used in future attacks. Food, clothing, medicine, and other legitimate items are allowed to pass through. This demand is a nonstarter. US Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to the region and proposed a one-week truce that would allow breathing room for a broader deal to take shape. This time, it's Israel that has pre-emptively and decisively rejected the offer. Israel's leaders argue that the 'timeout' would interrupt their hard-fought ground incursion designed to destroy Hamas' so-called "terror tunnels." In short:
Kerry cease-fire would have saved Hamas's tunnels, destruction of which is entire reason for ground op. Israel rejected. Go figure.— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) July 25, 2014
Kerry, in face-saving mode:
Kerry: Israel never rejected cease-fire since it was never formally proposed http://t.co/Rc7m5MO8k1— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) July 25, 2014
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey has explained why the tunnels, not rockets, are Hamas' most lethal tool in their murderous campaign against Israeli civilians. Indeed, heavily-armed Hamas fighters wearing Israeli military uniforms recently emerged from one such tunnel, killing two IDF soldiers. The Washington Post notes that tunnel-based assaults on Israeli neighborhoods are an appalling staple of the Hamas playbook:
Three times in recent days, Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnels in the vicinity of Israeli civilian communities, which they clearly aimed to attack. The concrete-lined structures are stocked with materials, such as handcuffs and tranquilizers, that could be used on hostages. Other tunnels in northern Gaza are designed for the storage and firing of missiles at Israeli cities. The resources devoted by Hamas to this project are staggering, particularly in view of Gaza’s extreme poverty. By one Israeli account, the typical tunnel cost $1 million to build over the course of several years, using tons of concrete desperately needed for civilian housing. By design, many of the tunnels have entrances in the heavily populated Shijaiyah district, where the Israeli offensive has been concentrated. One was found underneath al-Wafa hospital, where Hamas also located a command post and stored weapons, according to Israeli officials.
The IDF released aerial footage last week of one such attempted raid, which ended...badly for the terrorists:
Israeli officials say interrogations of captured Hamas militants have revealed plans for a civilian bloodbath scheduled for an upcoming Jewish high holy day:
Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported today by the Israeli daily Maariv. The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians. Israeli soldiers already frustrated a surprise assault by Hamas through one tunnel from Gaza into the Eshkol district of Israel on July 19.
Meanwhile, rockets have been discovered in yet another UN-administered Gaza school, while Hamas keeps on doing its craven, disgusting thing:
At noon today, terrorists fired mortars & anti-tank missiles from near an UNRWA school in Gaza, killing an IDF soldier. Details forthcoming.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 25, 2014
Our initial reports from the field indicate that terrorists also opened fire from within the UNRWA school.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 25, 2014
I'll leave you with this:
This map shows why we continue in our mission to expose and destroy Hamas' network of terror attack tunnels. pic.twitter.com/snPnupv0ud— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 24, 2014
But all Israel needs to do to achieve "peace" is end its blockade of Gaza (thus allowing Hamas to resupply its weapons cache), and cut short its mission to destroy the tunnels (which Hamas uses to store munitions and infiltrate Israel). The people who think this is reasonable are the same people who cheered Israel's unilateral and forcible withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 -- a good will gesture for which Israel has been rewarded with the election of Hamas and many thousands of rockets shot at their civilian population centers.
UPDATE - Israel has agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire:
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 25, 2014
#BREAKING Israel agrees 12-hour Gaza ceasefire Saturday morning: US official
Has Hamas agreed? (UPDATE II: Yes, apparently).