Israel seeks to end Gaza operation unilaterally

After a five-hour meeting Friday, cabinet decides against further cease-fire negotiations, relying instead on restoring Israel's deterrence.

An Israeli soldier on the border with the Gaza Strip, on August 1, 2014.
An Israeli soldier prepares his machine gun at an army deployment area on the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, on Au... / Photo by AFP
By Barak Ravid
Published 18:00 02.08.14

Israel's security cabinet decided after a five-hour meeting Friday night that Israel will no longer seek a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip via negotiations with Hamas, senior Israeli officials said. Therefore, Israel does not intend to send a delegation to the Cairo truce talks as previously agreed in the course of the last cease-fire, before it was violated by Hamas.

The senior officials said that ministers were unanimous in the cabinet meeting in their position that there is no point in pursuing cease-fire negotiations after Hamas violated the previous one by capturing an IDF soldier on Friday. According to the officials, the ministers also agreed that the captured soldier will not change Israel's overall strategy. In other words, the IDF will continue its operations to destroy the tunnels and the ground operation will not be significantly expanded at this stage.

The cabinet also decided that instead of efforts to reach a cease-fire through negotiations, Israel will focus on restoring Israel's deterrence against Hamas. The senior officials said that in light of the failed cease-fire efforts, Israel will consider ending the operation and unilaterally leaving Gaza, relying on deterrence.

"We think there is still enough international legitimacy for an operation in Gaza," said a senior Israeli official. "In the coming days the destruction of the tunnels will be complete, and then a decision will be made as to how to continue from there." The official added that "if we feel that deterrence has been restored, we will leave the [Gaza] Strip on the basis of the 'quiet for quiet' principle. If we feel deterrence has not yet been achieved, we will continue the operation inside the Gaza Strip or exit and continue with the aerial bombardment."

The senior officials said Israel will also try to reach an understanding with Egypt, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the international community on the issue of reconstructing the Gaza Strip, preventing Hamas from re-arming itself and monitoring material entering Gaza.

"On the issues concerning demilitarization we will reach understandings with Egypt and the international community without a need for any negotiations with Hamas," the officials said. "The issue of the Rafah Crossing is Egyptian-Palestinian Authority matter, and the issue of the rest of the crossings is between us and the PA and the international community."

Israel's aim to end the operation unilaterally also stems for its interest in stopping the severe deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and in preventing the collapse of essential infrastructure. The senior officials also said that a deeper entry into Gaza would result in a dramatic rise in civilian Palestinian casualties, which would in turn increase the pressure and international condemnation of Israel while serving Hamas' interests.

Hamas' spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Sami Abu Zuhri, responded to the reports and said a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip will not commit Hamas to anything, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.


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  • 19.
    What a statesman! What a world leader!
    Netanyahu is now in his third term as Prime Minister and he still hasn't been able to resolve Israel's most pressing political and moral problem. It would almost seem that he uses it for his own political survival. Nothing rallies the citizenry around the head of state more than a war with a neighboring state. And every time his own government gets shaky and out of control, the ever-useful Palestinian problem raises its ugly head.
  • 18.
    Israel doesn't want to do this again in two years .
    They have decided to deal with Hamas once and for all. Israel may not leave Gaza for years. They can't leave a vacuum for other terrorists. Now the occupation begins for real and the Palestinians deserve it for their sheer stupidity.
  • 17.
    Children will not forget.
    Those children who lost their father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, grand father, grand mother, friend, house, toy, school, hospital, university,.......will not forget and will rise again against injustice, occupation, aggression.
  • 16.
    Looking forward to Bibi's "mission accomplished" moment.
    Pity the IDF doesn't have any aircraft carriers for the photo-op. But what happens if he declares "Mission Accomplished!" and Hamas replies with "Err, no, we're not done yet"?
  • 15.
    Israel has failed
    Israel's inability to deliver a heavy blow to the Hamas terror commanders is indeed a failure and places israel close to where a loser is placed. Where is the missing soldier? Sold to hamas?
  • 14.
    A political victory of the other side with whatever name
    Israel can do nothing and has to talk. The two-state-solution is dead.
  • Two State Solution is FAR from dead
    It is Israels only option for long term peace and Hamas slammed it straight back on the table right in Netanyahu's face and made him a laughing stock globally. 26 days and in excess of $6billion in costs and climbing and the rockets are still flying into Israel.
  • 13.
    Pyrrhic victory
    Israel deterrence? who deterred whom? What exactly did Israel accomplish besides killing children, civilians and the destruction of buildings?
  • 12.
    Basic mistake repeated
    This is just repeating Sharon's basic mistake of withdrawing without any consent with Pals So failure is guaranteed. From the 30's of last centuriy Israel believes in the power of violence. The result is a country that has been at war since some 80 years. Of course Pals will again some day rise up again against that "deterrence". The last few weeks Israel has already created a new generation of fighters that will be dedicated to harming Israel in any way they can .
  • 11.
    Best deterence is to NEVER STEAL other folks territory! When Israel finally lives by the basic tenets of Judaism it might get peace
  • Yes! The Palestinians have always squatted and otherwise
    stolen land. Israel was a nation millennia before Islam and these squatters and long before before Palestinians stole that name in order to reinvent themselves with a lie. Israel would share the land but Palestinians would rather kill Jews and not recognize the nation of Israel. For all this they have doomed themselves.
  • 10.
    My Guess
    Obama won't sign off on the delivery of Iron Dome Missiles unless Israel ceases actions in Gaza and withdraws.
  • 9.
    Israels quagmire Gaza
    If the Invading IOFs stays they lose and if they cut and run they lose. Hamas must give them a bill for all the destruction and death they caused in Gaza
  • Gaza
    OK all ready, we have tried this scenario before HELLO it does not work. Stop the siege and the occupation-- Give peace a chance.
  • 8.
    Gaza operation by Israel.
    Jai Shri Ram. I am in consonance with the befitting treatment being meted out to the Gaza people in the in the light of their record of their incompatible attitude to live harmoniously with their neighbors and even with their own compatriots like the other terror mongering muslim countries the world.They believe in expansionism at any cost in any way to any consequence.They are not innocent just because they are getting killed .They wield and brandish the rod mercilessly on others as transaction traditionally. So they must be retaliated accordingly.Jai Shri Ram . shivcharan
  • 7.
    UNSC res 476 .. How abput Israel adhere to International Law and withdraw from ALL non-Israeli territories, take the illegal settlers
  • 6.
    I support Israel
    As an American Christian I fully support Israel against the Islamic world. I pray for the safety of Israel and the Palestinian people whohave chosen terrorists to rule over them. This is indeed a choice between the civilized world an barbarians wanting to go back to the middle ages . God bless Israel
  • Israel
    As a British Christian I suggest you read your Bible Omar. Jesus would not be proud of the Jewish nation this week. May the Lord's hand be on the families of those killed by Israel.
  • 5.
    In other words, Israel will declare victory and leave
    See you in two years.
  • 4.
    MIGHT IS RIGHT!!!! as long as stupid America gives my tax dollars to its spoiled child israel.
  • 3.
    Israel seeks to end Gaza operation unilaterally?
    That means Mighty is right and defiant, warmongering Israel remains violating the whole World wish to end the Israeli carnage of civilians in Gaza.
  • 2.
    Was hoping for an international call for Gaza disarmament. Watch your back Israel. Between Hamas and Haaretz you've got two vipers aiming at your neck.
  • 1.
    Deterrence, what deterrence?
    There is only one deterrence that is guaranteed to last - a serious, honourable resolution with the Palestinians! Over the past three and a half weeks you have created an entirely new generation of jihadists! What possible security is there in that?