How the Gaza Truce Makes Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood a Peace Player

The truce reflects a transformation in the region, reflecting the participation of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in the status quo and perhaps the beginning of the rehabilitation of Hamas

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ALESSIO ROMENZI FOR TIME

Palestinians celebrate a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Gaza in Gaza City on Nov. 21, 2012.

When a civilian bus was bombed in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, many feared the incident would derail negotiations for a truce in the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas. That proved not to be the case. The other anxiety was that an Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood in power would somehow jinx the prospects for peace. That fear proved to be groundless too. Indeed, the government of President Mohamed Morsy took the lead role in brokering the Gaza truce announced in Cairo Wednesday night and will reportedly act as its guarantor. “It was unknown how Egypt would react,” Likud party legislator Yohanan Plesner told Britain’s Telegraph. “When the moment of truth came, the Egyptian leadership moved responsibly and clearly said they were trying to restore stability.” Not only that, says analyst Michael Wahid Hanna at the Century Foundation, “Egypt’s government has put its own international credibility on the line by effectively undertaking to ensure that Hamas observes the terms of its cease-fire. That’s a subtle but profoundly important change.”

Egypt’s Gaza role reflects the emerging contours of a Middle East profoundly changed by the Arab Spring yet still forced to confront decades-old challenges. The essential partnership in tamping down the Gaza violence, notes former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, is the one “between the United States and Egypt — one using its influence with Israel, the other with Hamas — to put together a cease-fire package as the foundation for a wider resolution of the conflict.” Although U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have played an important part in finessing the deal, Morsy and the Egyptians provide a service Washington cannot in dealing with Gaza. The U.S. is officially sworn to avoid engagement with Hamas, a movement it defines as a terrorist organization. And while Washington has a preferred Palestinian interlocutor — President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank — Abbas has no influence over events in Gaza, where his rivals in Hamas hold sway. And so the Obama Administration turned to Egypt, urging it to use the Muslim Brotherhood’s political ties with Hamas and the Egyptian intelligence service’s long-established relationship with its Israeli counterparts to broker a truce.

(PHOTOS: A New Gaza War: Israel and Palestinian Militants Trade Fire)

Unlike former President Hosni Mubarak, who deemed Hamas an enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood government sees the movement as its own political progeny and is therefore not shackled by a need to prevent Hamas making political gains from a truce. On the contrary, while Egypt seeks a cease-fire that ends Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli air strikes on the territory, Cairo’s mediation also offers Hamas a path out of the blockade that has choked off Gaza’s economy for the past five years. Even Israeli leaders have praised the response from Cairo, notwithstanding Egypt’s unprecedented public acts of solidarity with Hamas.

Morsy had made clear when he addressed the U.N. General Assembly in September that his government would both abide by the 1978 Camp David peace treaty with Israel and challenge the status quo in the Palestinian territories. “I say it loudly to those wondering about our position vis-à-vis the international agreements and conventions that we have previously adhered to: We are committed to what we have signed on,” Morsy said at the time. “We also support the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and are determined to pursue all efforts side by side with them until they regain their rights.”

Hamas will certainly claim victory after surviving Israel’s latest onslaught and striking fear into Israelis by firing missiles as far north as Tel Aviv as well as advancing its strategic goal of lifting the blockade. But a truce that requires Hamas to enforce peace with Israel also poses challenges to a movement that claims the mantle of resistance. While the smaller Iran-aligned Islamic Jihad in Gaza has also signed on to the truce, Hamas will be forced to restrain Salafist groups, possibly even violently. That will be a test. Many of these militant organizations are composed of former Hamas fighters disillusioned by what they see as the movement’s abandonment of resistance.

There is another irony. Rather than marginalizing and isolating Hamas — a stated U.S. and Israeli goal — Israel’s operation “has only enhanced the centrality of that organization,” notes Council on Foreign Relations analyst Robert Danin. “That by-product is entirely consistent with Israel’s aim — to compel Hamas to take responsibility for developments in Gaza … Israel’s goal now is not to destroy Hamas but to compel it to behave more responsibly and keep order in Gaza. Much of the mortar fire over the past year against southern Israel has been launched by groups more radical than Hamas. By holding Hamas responsible, Israel inadvertently bolsters Hamas’ standing and legitimacy as the ultimate power broker and arbiter in Gaza.”

That opens interesting possibilities. If things are normalized in Gaza with Hamas in charge, Hamas effectively becomes a second Palestinian mini-statelet. Some Israelis believe that would be a very good idea. Retired General Giora Eiland, national security adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, this week urged that Israel agree to lift the blockade of Gaza and begin to engage with Hamas as the government there, precisely in order to stabilize its separate status. Some Israeli analysts even urge their government to encourage Cairo to open its own border crossings with Gaza, which would allow the territory’s economic reintegration to take place primarily through Egypt. “[Such a] move would signal the completion of Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, slowly handing over responsibility for the area’s economic needs to the Egyptian government,” writes Israeli analyst Ehud Yaari. “Egypt, which already perceives itself as a patron of Hamas, would see this situation favorably because it would grant Cairo more influence over the group.”

That, however, may be a development too far for Egypt. There are limits to how much responsibility Cairo will accept for Gaza, warns Hanna. “If Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing without Israel doing the same at its own crossings into Gaza, there’d be champagne corks popping in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They won’t do that, because Egypt won’t shoulder the burden of Gaza, which could end the possibility of a unified Palestinian state.” Indeed, specifically because of its support for a two-state solution, Egypt will be leery of being drawn into a Gaza arrangement that might be construed as a three-state solution.

16 comments
BillPearlman
BillPearlman

Too bad Tony wasn't in Berlin at the end to tell us how much Hitler loved dogs and that Goering was a jolly fellow. Not often that you see such a fawning piece about a bunch of psychos. 

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

Jeremiah 31..........The Remnant of Israel Saved31 “At the same time,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.”2 Thus says the Lord:“The people who survived the swordFound grace in the wilderness—Israel, when I went to give him rest.”3 The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.4 Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt,O virgin of Israel!You shall again be adorned with your tambourines,And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.5 You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria;The planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food.6 For there shall be a dayWhen the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim,‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,To the Lord our God.’” 

BerreckObeme
BerreckObeme

GlobalNews: if islam & muslims Declare Wars at All Human Beings then the WW3 begin to Eliminate islam. 

GLOBALNetworks: muslims are Not Human Beings: Eliminate muslims. 

WW3: Creators Destroy islam. 

WW3 Objective: Eliminate islam. 

GLOBALNetworks: muslims are Not Human Beings: Eliminate muslims. 

UN NATO PENTAGON Global Forces Joint in WW3. 

WW3 Objective: Eliminate islam. 

1.Destroy palestinian & jordan for Israel supported by EU Russia USA. 

2.Destroy mecca & the evil kaaba attacked by Africa Egypt Iraq Qatar Yemen Omen. 

3.Destroy indonesia separated to be the new 7 countries supported by ASEAN Australia UK USA. 

The Earth Weapons: 

CERN EU Russia Germany: ready to launch nukes to Destroy mecca kaaba the evil axis. 

IAEA UN USA UK Australia: ready to launch nukes to Destroy java the terrorist nests. 

WW3: Creators Destroy islam. 

Bomb mecca & medina like their islamic story as the Armageddon day. 

Send muslims to heaven by death like their islamic past ego story they made. 

For All future human beings: Sacrifice islam. 

Supported By: 

UN EU Russia USA IAEA CERN NATO PENTAGON

BerreckObeme
BerreckObeme

Arab Rebellions: After Egypt Saudi Arabia will be Fallen!!

BillPearlman
BillPearlman

Israel needs to cut the power grid that it provides to Gaza. Let Egypt handle it.

jmd3359
jmd3359

S'est toujours les même qui en payent le Prix. Il n'y as pas un Jour sans Victimes Civils des Deux Camps. Les Politiques des Deux camps passerais un Mois as vivre dans la même pièce, Ils finirons as Trouver un Accord de Vivre Ensemble.

Jérusalem Terre Saint des Religions devenus le Théâtre de l'Injustice Humaine Aux Nom de Quelle Dieu La Mort est Mériter ?

Que Dieu Nous Bénisse Tous

pini00001
pini00001

Hamas, it may be forgotten, was a creation of the Israeli government's effort to place a bulwark against the Fatah in Gaza and was funded primarily by the Saudis with the acquiescence of Israel.  It just, unfortunately, grew like Topsy because of the characteristic it shares with the Muslim brotherhood, scrupulous, religiously based honesty in the division of goodies that actually reach the populace, on contrast to the ethically challenged Fatah and other Middle Eastern regimes.  Hamas finances itself through taxation of smuggling tunnels created by the Israeli blockade.

Somehow, no one is talking about the Gaza blockade, except Hamas, but it has been a miserable failure for Israel on so many dimensions. It failed to keep out missiles and other weapons materiel, it's taxation provides revenues for Hamas and it's military from the huge flow of smuggled civilian goods which conveniently facilitates weapons smuggling. Not to mention the humanitarian implications for Israel that have come to light in the past two months. The continuation of the blockade is clearly a losing proposition for Israel and the regular IDF troops which remain exposed around Gaza to enforce it as reserves stand down.

http://www.jewishjournal.com/demographic_duo/item/israeli_math_argues_for_an_end_to_gaza_blockade

reallife
reallife

 Netaniahu knows their language - As soon as they see 70000 jews at the border ready to kick some as$ they start talking about peace -

PlumbLine
PlumbLine

Watch out when the world cries out " Peace and Safety ",.....in these end times......1 Thessalonians 5:3........For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.....

KeithCameron
KeithCameron

Make no mistake about it, the Muslim Brotherhood is to 'Peace' what fish are to Bicycles. This is nothing more than a delaying tactic.

j.villain1
j.villain1

They aren't looking for a 3 state solution. The hope is they can dump Gaza on Egypt and finish the ethnic cleansing in the West Bank.

galens
galens

lets hope it lasts.

SophiaJohansson85
SophiaJohansson85

I can never understand society today especially the politicians theythink of something else, do something else and say something else? Whoknows if there will be peace or is this another plot? http://bit.ly/10vjVpL