In case you didn’t notice, the Hamas spokesman announced acceptance of the ceasefire at a news conference in the Al Shifa Hospital. Why is that important? Because many journalists covering the war in Gaza as well as the Israeli Defense Forces believe the Hamas leadership hid out during the fighting in bunkers beneath the hospital. In other words, the doctors, staff, patients and visitors were their unwitting human shields.
Sami Abu Zuhri, the spokesman, announced, "We declare the victory of the Palestinian resistance, the victory of Gaza. We achieved some of our instantaneous demands out of this battle."
I guess that depends on how you define victory. Like breathing.
Hamas’ greatest achievement was that what's left of the terror group's leadership, which Israel failed to kill, was able to crawl out of their bunkers and tunnels into the sunlight without worrying about being targeted by an Israeli missile from one of the drones overhead.
The announcement was accompanied by one of the largest barrages of rockets and mortars launched from Gaza throughout the conflict. It continued for hours after the ceasefire was set to begin, killing two Israelis and wounding several others.
Hamas gunmen, many of them masked (maybe they were too modest to accept the crowd’s gratitude) took to the streets firing into the air in celebration of their leaders' decision to accept an Egyptian ceasefire proposal they'd turned down -- and Israel accepted -- several times before.
They may be defying reality in declaring such a victory but they can’t defy gravity, and when they fire into the air the bullets are going to come down in the festive crowds and people are going to be wounded or even killed. Of course, it’s all Israel’s fault, and the casualties will be tallied by the Hamas-run Health Ministry as victims of Zionist attacks and dutifully certified as such by the United Nations.
The truce is supposed to be unlimited but no one knows whether it will last a few days, a few weeks or a few months. The only thing you can be sure of is that it has a limited life expectancy, each side will accuse the other of violating the agreements made through other parties because they refuse to speak to each other, and the fighting will resume when everyone is ready.
Neither side is getting what it demanded. Hamas wanted a sea and airport, open borders and a lifting of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade and travel restrictions. Israel demanded Hamas be disarmed and Gaza demilitarized. Neither one got what it wanted. And won’t. So who won? No one, as usual.
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