Hamas has been sending definitive signals of its willingness to sign a dignified truce with Israel in return for its lifting its harsh blockade on the Gaza Strip as well as ending bloody and unrelenting Israeli attacks which wreak death and havoc on the coastal territory's civilian inhabitants.Otherwise, they'd stop that Qassam fire in a second.
Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, said this week that the Islamic movement was "willing and ready to examine any serious proposal that would put an end to Israeli aggression." Similarly, Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha told reporters in Gaza earlier this week that Hamas welcomed third-party intervention to bring about a ceasefire.
"The ball has always been in the Israeli court, not in our court. The resistance is not the cause, but the effect, of Israeli aggression. If Israel stops its crimes and lifts this oppressive blockade on our people, the resistance would stop," Taha said.
Taha was responding to remarks made by visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner during a meeting in West Jerusalem with Israeli politician and Meretz leader Yossi Beilin. Kouchner reportedly said that France was willing to play the role of "mediator" or "facilitator" between Hamas and Israel for the purpose of reaching a ceasefire.
Kouchner's statements represented something of a departure from usual EU policy against making contact with Hamas until it recognises the legitimacy of Zionism (the Jewish character of Israel) and abandon violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Taha challenged Kouchner to act on his remarks, saying that the French official should visit Gaza to see how things are on the ground.
Hamas has been reluctant to appear publicly as seeking a ceasefire with Israel for fear that this would undermine the movement's image as a resistance group as well as harm relations with allies in the region. Hamas was also concerned that a ceasefire with Israel would provide Fatah, its arch foe, with valuable propaganda ammunition to discredit the movement.
Increasingly deadly attacks waged by the Israeli army in Gaza, however, met mostly with silence or indifference by the bulk of the international community, appear to have convinced the movement that a ceasefire agreement inclusive of lifting the 20-month-old harsh blockade on Gaza would be an important achievement and popularity booster for Hamas.
One Hamas leader in Gaza told Al-Ahram Weekly that the movement didn't want to give Israel the propaganda tools it needs to continue its genocidal policy.
"They are trying both to mislead and desensitise world public opinion by claiming that the problem lies in Palestinian rockets originating in Gaza. Meanwhile, they are annihilating entire Palestinian families and are calculating that if the world accepts 10 or 20 Palestinian victims per day, then the world can be desensitised into accepting 50 or even 100 victims per day. It is genocide by retail," the official said on condition of anonymity. [...]Poor Hamas. No customers for their bogus going out of business sale.