ZOA Hopes and Prays Ceasefire Holds for a Long Time
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
Israel’s announcement that Israel had accepted an “unconditional ceasefire” commencing at 2 a.m. Israel time, brokered by the U.S. and Egypt, raises concerns. Cease fires with a terrorist group like Hamas are always risky and perilous—in light of the fact that Hamas broke at least 10 ceasefires during the past war. (See “Protective Edge: Hamas’ Violations of Ceasefires – A Chronology,” Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aug. 19, 2014.)
ZOA is deeply concerned that the announced ceasefire gives Hamas a chance to rearm and replenish their used and destroyed rockets and weapons provided by Iran. Although Israel had many important achievements in reducing Hamas’ terrorist capabilities, our understanding is that Israel needed more time to deal a thoroughly crippling below to Hamas. Enormous pressure from the United States and others caused Israel to prematurely discontinue its military efforts to demolish Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s terror infrastructure in Gaza. Our understanding is given credence by the report that Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi acknowledged during Israel’s cabinet meeting that Israel no longer has sufficient international support to continue the operation.
The decision to enter into the ceasefire also went against the concerns of the vast majority of Israelis. A survey today by Direct Polls found that 72% of Israelis were opposed to a ceasefire at this point, because they believe that the military operation was not completed. Only 24% favored a ceasefire.
We are deeply troubled that Hamas leaders are already boasting that Hamas won a victory, and that Israel has agreed to concessions to Hamas. Hamas leader Ali Barakeh bragged that Israel’s announcement of a ceasefire was a defeat for Netanyahu and was a “victory” for the Palestinians. Gazan Hamas supporters are dancing in the streets, while Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya crowed: “This is the euphoria of victory.” Moreover, days ago, after Hamas pelted Israel with thousands of rockets, while Israel Arabs assaulted their Jewish neighbors and burned synagogues and Jewish schools, Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh boasted that the Palestinian Arabs have set a new “balance of power” and “We [Hamas] have achieved victory in the battle for Jerusalem.”
If Hamas now wants the U.S. and other nations to help them rebuild, the U.S. should demand that the price for such assistance is for Hamas to relinquish the rest of its rockets; dismantle its rocket-production facilities; immediately abrogate the clauses in Hamas’ official charter that call for Israel’s destruction and the murder of every Jew on Earth; and to stop inciting their people to hate and kill Jews through their official media, speeches, sermons and schools. At least these minimum Hamas concessions would diminish Hamas’ ability to launch another 4,000 rockets attack on Israel in the near future.
ZOA and its Board and members hope the ceasefire and peace and tranquility between Gaza and Israel hold for a very long time.