Hamas agreed to a ceasefire yesterday after being pressured by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. To be clear, for Hamas, this is not a ceasefire, but “until we meet again.” As long as their charter has these words, “Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it,” no Israeli will rest peacefully—especially those cities on our southern border. In fact, my wife told me that a rocket was just fired on Ashkelon.
However the real question here is this: What made Morsi cave? As I predicted in my last blog, President Morsi, despite his “to the death” theology when it comes to defeating Israel, gave in. He felt the weight of 80,000,000 hungry Egyptians on his back. The sub-question is “who got to him?”
LINDSEY GRAHAM SPEAKS ‘MIDDLE EAST’
Lindsey Graham has been the strongest public voice coming from the U.S. during the Israeli/Hamas ‘war’. He put the fear of Allah in President Morsi when he passionately said on live television looking directly into the camera, “Egypt, watch what you do and how you do it. You’re teetering with the Congress on having your aid cut off if you keep inciting violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” (NBC Meet the Press) That is how you speak to a despot thug. This is the language of the Middle East. If you don’t talk tough, they interpret it as weakness.
That is why President Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009 had virtually no positive effect. In fact, it made him appear to the Arab world weak and naïve. He meant well, but it is simply not the language of the Middle East.
MORSI CAVES UNDER PRESSURE
Morsi responded to Graham’s threat by reigning in Hamas. FoxNews reported yesterday that Graham challenged Egypt afresh after hearing of the ceasefire. In equally strong words he told Egypt they better start intercepting arms that are being smuggled in from Iran (via Sudan) and Libya or risk losing $1,000,000,000 in US aid. Amazingly, a few hours later, Egypt confiscated a truck with warheads smuggled from Libya.
“The Egyptian officials said authorities seized the pick-up trucks, carrying 108 warheads for Soviet-designed Grad rockets, near Marsa Matrouh, 270 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast. Suspected smugglers had fled the scene.”[i]
How refreshing it was to hear a U.S. Senator speak Middle East to the democratically elected terrorist Morsi. And it spooked him!
PRAISE FOR OBAMA
While I have been a critic of Obama’s actions towards Israel in the past, I have to give him credit for the way he handled this. He didn’t make naive statements that made it appear that Israel and Hamas are equally to blame, but stood firmly with Israel. He expressed solidarity with Israel and said over and over again Israel has the right to defend herself.
Secondly, he called President Morsi multiple times, and maybe after four years of believing that you could reason with Islamic fanatics, he has grown. I don’t know what he said to Morsi, but Morsi sure got Hamas to fall into line in a hurry. In addition, Secretary Clinton embraced a grueling schedule flying from the Far East to meet with Netanyahu, Abbas, Netanyahu again (after the bus bombing) and then Morsi… and she left with a ceasefire agreement. If it sticks, this will look good on her 2016 resume.
It would be unrealistic to expect a U.S. President to speak as openly as Graham did. Presidents typically save such speech for private conversations and it appears Obama did.
At the end of the day, the man who loves death (see Muslim Bro-hood Charter) chose life and billions of $$ over death and poverty.
No doubt, Hamas will spin this in the Arab world as a victory. In fact, just to attack Israel and survive, wins street creed in the Middle Eastern terror hub. But make no mistake, Hamas had taken a hit:
26 weapons caches were destroyed.
The IAF bombed some 140 tunnels that had been used to smuggle arms, as well as 66 tunnels that were to be used for terrorist attacks on Israel and demolished thousands of rockets.[ii]
120 terrorists, including 30 of Hamas’ top commanders and the leader of Hamas’ military wing Ahmed Jibari, were assassinated.[iii]
Israel secured about a half billion dollars in U.S. investment in the highly successful (90%) Iron Dome missile defense system.
Hamas can’t be popular amongst Gazans at the moment, as 1,600 targets were hit in response to their rockets and many parts of Gaza city lie in ruins.
Despite firing over 1,500 rockets at Israel in eight days, the damage was minimal in comparison. (I don’t mean to make light of the five deaths)
And it appears that some Arabs in the Middle East are finally getting sick of Hamas using citizens of Gaza as Human shields: One prominent Egyptian pundit noted that the Arab street did not go out of its way to show solidarity with Hamas during the fighting, owing to the Islamic organization’s pro-Iranian agenda. Saudi and Kuwaiti papers ran editorials blaming Islamic Jihad and Hamas for “using the blood of Gazans as currency in the battles they wage for Iran,” and wrote that the two terrorist groups refused to accept that “Israel is militarily superior in the Gaza Strip.”[iv]
But in my estimation, the most significant event that took place was President Morsi’s decision to choose diplomacy over radicalism, billions in aids over future sanctions, and life over death. It goes against everything he has claimed to believe in as a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and it may cost him. On the other hand, it has won him, at least for the moment, some favor in the west.
To be sure, even if this battle is over, the war is not. And as I said before, this war is fought on our knees, on the battlefield and online. Let your voice be heard.