What an Egypt-Brokered Cease-Fire Should Look Like

(Foreign Affairs) Ehud Yaari - Israel does not seek to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza. As statements from senior Israeli officials indicate, the objective is a long-term cease-fire along the Israel-Gaza border. Previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas, including the 2008-9 war, have been resolved with Egyptian facilitation. But these calm periods have historically not lasted very long. Hamas has increasingly allowed other heavily armed terrorist groups in Gaza, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to launch attacks on Israel. And in the past few months, despite Egyptian warnings, Hamas has targeted Israeli soldiers and military outposts along the border, too. This time, ending the conflict and restoring stability will require a different type of arrangement. The cease-fire agreement should involve other parties and contain additional checks on violence. It will have the best chance of lasting if it is primarily based on an Israeli-Egyptian agreement, supported by the U.S. and, possibly, by the EU. Since most of the weapons in Gaza were trafficked through Egyptian territory, Cairo should agree to help prevent the reconstruction of Hamas' arsenal. Egypt and Israel also need to ensure that when the cease-fire takes hold in Gaza, terror operations do not simply pick up and move south to Sinai. The writer is an International Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Middle East commentator for Israel Channel 2 news.

2012-11-19 00:00:00

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