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Israeli Narrative on Peace Deal, We ‘Got Played’ by Washington

The May 6 offer by Hamas, to drop its requirement that a hostage/truce deal include a “permanent ceasefire,” caught the Israeli government off guard in a rather revealing fashion, as a May 7 Axios article. The article appeared prior to Biden’s announcement, last night, of his threat to withhold weaponry involved in targeting dense population sectors.

First, Axios’ Israeli sources put forward the account, that the Israeli cabinet examined Hamas’ May 6 offer, but discovered that it was fraudulent, having many changes. Hence, they should proceed with their plan to assault Rafah. They felt that Washington and, in particular, CIA Director William Burns had tricked them. The Hamas document had “many new elements” and it “looked like a whole new proposal.” Washington knew this, but didn’t inform Israel. Further, Israeli officials said that they viewed Hamas’ offer as “a ruse” that was designed to make Hamas look good, and make Israel look like the obstinate party. Two Israeli officials said there was a sense that Israel “got played” by Washington and Arab mediators, sparking anger and suspicion in Israel.

In particular, Israel suspects the U.S. and other mediators offered promises to Hamas that a ceasefire would see the war brought to an end. A deputy of Hamas’ Yahya Sinwar, Khalil al-Hayya, told Al Jazeera on May 6 that Egypt was to be a guarantor of the deal and they would keep the war from resuming. (This is key, as Sinwar, had been a hardliner on not backing down from the “permanent ceasefire,” and Hamas was giving up that language for assurances that the aim of a temporary ceasefire would be to become permanent.) A top Israeli official told Axios: “We think the Americans conveyed the message to Hamas that it will be okay when it comes to ending the war.”

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