David Makovsky is the director of the Washington Institute’s Project on the Middle East Peace Process, and has been studying the strategy of both Hamas and Israel.
He tells anchor Marco Werman that both sides want a ceasefire, but seek very different terms.
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Marco Werman: David Makovsky directs the project on the Middle East peace process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He’s been looking at what each side wants in a ceasefire.
David Makovsky: The Israeli approach is two phases: first, stop firing, we can’t keep the Israeli people in shelters and we can’t keep troops massed along the borders, so let’s just have a lull because any negotiation is gonna be protracted. Where it seems to me, and I can’t say this with 100% certainty, the Hamas view is now the world is watching now, and you know, let’s work out the terms for this, now it might be more favorable to us…and we want everything high profile because of our, we want to leverage this new Egyptian relationship. So even the structure of a ceasefire is not something they can agree upon. I happened to be at the prime ministers office today and they certainly are of the view that the next 24-48 hours are critical or else they go to ground. So it was a question of maybe in the shorter term they have some converging interests and that’s the big discussion.
Werman: And so what do you think those converging interests are? I mean where is the daylight where you know, some possible ceasefire, some terms could be met?
Makovsky: Look, the question would be is can Israel and Hamas agree on a situation where there’s total quiet. Maybe Israel would open up more and Egypt would open up more, but they would also require more from Hamas, which is to impose the ceasefire, not just on themselves, but on these new Salafi, Jihadi groups that have sprouted up in Gaza that have been mocking Hamas at different times, saying you know, you’re not committed to the resistance like it used to be, you’ve gone establishment. So this is more complicated than it was in 2008-09 when Hamas was the main player in town. They’re still the leading player in town, no question, but what is gonna be asked of them is to exert control over Jihadi groups who have insisted that Hamas is losing their way. And that is to be seen whether they’ve been able to exert it. If they can’t exert it then the ceasefire is meaningless of any Salafi group could on any given day just start shooting rockets into civilian areas in Israel, then what good is it for Israel?
Werman: David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He spoke to us from Jerusalem. Our partners at the BBC have live coverage of events in Gaza and Israel. You can find a link at theworld.org.
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