BEIRUT – The new Israeli-Hamas cease-fire appears to be tenuous, according to regional sources, although analysts say it represents a major successful first test for the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Morsi has walked a political tightrope of balancing his favoritism toward Hamas while mindful of the major economic assistance Egypt needs from the West, the sources say.
There is little question that unqualified backing of Hamas would have removed him as a mediator and would have only caused greater problems with Israel and especially the United States. Morsi wants billions of dollars in grants and approval from the U.S. for an impending $4.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Morsi was able to demonstrate he could be a regional leader by not showing total favoritism toward Hamas while remaining true to his Muslim Brotherhood base.
His actions, for now, have prevented an Israeli ground invasion into Gaza that would undoubtedly have been roundly condemned by the international community.
Even now, given how the tenuousness of the cease-fire, an Israeli ground invasion still cannot be ruled out, sources say.
For Israel, the key was to get Hamas to stop lobbing rockets and missiles into the heart of the country. For Hamas, Morsi was able to get the Israelis to partially lift an embargo and restrictions on freedom of movement, although the Palestinian resistance group wanted the barriers removed completely.
Israel also knew that while it had the military capability to destroy Hamas, it would have removed Hamas as a barrier to other, more radical elements that would fill the void take over the fighting.
The more radical elements began to emerge last week when at least three groups claimed credit for a bus bombing in Tel Aviv that wounded 29 people.
The sources say Israel cannot afford to dismantle Hamas completely in Gaza, because the more radical elements could fill the power void and make conditions for any settlement almost impossible.
Israel is looking to Cairo to negotiate a settlement that would stop the rocket attacks.
Specifically, Israel is more worried about the Fajr-5 missiles that can reach Tel Aviv and other major Israeli cities. It also wants Egypt to prevent future weapons shipments from reaching Gaza. Officials claim they are reaching the Palestinian territory by way of Egypt’s Sinai, an area supposedly under Cairo’s military and security control.
Sources believe that the Fajr-5 missiles that were launched toward Israel were smuggled into Gaza with the acquiescence of Egypt, making Tel Aviv less likely to trust Cairo in any negotiations.
Developments surrounding the Gaza conflict also underscored the ineffectiveness of the Palestinian Authority, which governs over the West Bank but has no clout in Gaza, where Hamas rules.
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