Assessing the Record of Hamas Ceasefires

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Shoshanah Haberman - If the past is any indication, a ceasefire agreement is likely; such ceasefires have been regular occurrences in PA-Hamas relations. Ten ceasefires have been declared or offered by Hamas since 1993. In some cases, they followed periods of PA-Hamas confrontation; at other times, they came on the heels of intense pressure placed on the PA after particularly egregious acts of terrorism committed by Hamas or other groups. All ceasefire offers were presented at a time when Hamas needed a moment to step back and regroup after an exhausting confrontation with a more powerful foe (either Israel or the PA). Throughout each of these ceasefire episodes, Hamas leaders continued to support the creation, through religiously sanctioned violence, of an Islamic state in all of Palestine, suggesting that Hamas ceasefires have served as "breathers," allowing the organization to consolidate before undertaking another set of attacks. Without PA efforts to dismantle the considerable military infrastructure built by Hamas, to deprive its leaders of broadcast and print media outlets, to shut down training and operational facilities, and to collect weapons, there is nothing to prevent any new ceasefire from going the way of previous ones.

2009-06-17 00:00:00

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