The Israeli government believed the word of the Secretary of State of the United States that, via his Turkish and Qatari friends, he had obtained acceptable terms for a ceasefire with Hamas. Mr. Kerry’s flunkies even bragged about the success of his Turko-Qatari connections, chiding those who looked askance at his bromance with friends and sponsors of Hamas.
What happened next – a surprise attack on Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip an hour and a half into the “ceasefire”, an abduction of a soldier – shows that Kerry’s word – America’s word! – counts for absolutely nothing. Neither Turkey nor Qatar (and of course not Hamas) intended to keep their promises to the Secretary of State, their dearest friend. They counted on the ceasefire to give Hamas the advantage of surprise to score some “strategic” gains, in which the terrorists have probably and tragically succeeded. Neither Qatar nor Turkey are afraid of possible American retaliation for such a flagrant breach of trust.
That Kerry was deceived will give no comfort to the Israeli government, which knows now that there is no credible channel for dialog with Hamas via Kerry. Moreover, whatever room for diplomatic maneuver there was before the current debacle, has disappeared now altogether. Even beforehand, the Israeli public was already dragging the Prime Minister and the Cabinet in tow, demanding much harsher steps in the war with much more radical aims – the elimination of Hamas both as a fighting force and a political structure. The infamy of today’s incidents will end any possibility for compromise or for additional ceasefire experiments.
John Kerry, again, has made matters much, much worse.