Contrary to Hamas reports, Israel claims there is no ceasefire deal for the Gaza conflict. But US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is en route to Jerusalem, and an agreement appears to be in the making. Making it stick will require regional commitment.
Tel Aviv and Washington
After a few days of increased hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and negotiations in Cairo, Hamas reports a ceasefire has been agreed to. Israel claims there is no deal yet, but US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is en route to Jerusalem, and an agreement appears to be in the making.
Assuming a ceasefire deal is finalized, the key will be making it stick, an effort that will require regional commitment. Ideally, this agreement would also lead to a gradual revision of Israel's policy of isolation and non-recognition of Hamas.
Failure to reach and enforce a ceasefire will likely lead to an additional escalation of the conflict and may well result in a full-scale Israel Defense Forces ground operation in Gaza: a repeat of the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead. Such a military option has serious drawbacks for both parties. Hamas, already weakened by the ongoing Israeli operations and by the killing of its influential military leader Ahmed Jabari, would be further debilitated by a mass-scale Israeli invasion.
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