How Russia wangled Israel into phony Gaza “ceasefire,” and acceptance of Iranian/Hizballah in the north 

Source: How Russia wangled Israel into phony Gaza “ceasefire,” and acceptance of Iranian/Hizballah in the north – DEBKAfile

On Friday afternoon, Netanyahu talked by phone to President Vladimir Putin. The subject of their conversation was not revealed. However, the prime minister’s office issued a statement affirming that he would continue to act against the establishment of an Iranian presence in Syria.

Lieberman was meanwhile on the phone to his Russian counterpart, Gen. Sergei Shoigu, following which Ambassador Alexander Shein in Tel Aviv announced that he was confirming as authentic the reports of an Russian-Israel accord to ensure the withdrawal of Iranian and Hizballah forces from Israel’s border.

After that verbal round came a spate of Russian backtracks. Ambassador to Baghdad Maksim Maksimov stated that Iranian forces would not quit Syria because, like the Russian army, they were there legitimately at the invitation of the Damascus government. He stressed that so long as Russian troops remained in Syria, so too would Iranian forces. Russian ambassador to Damascus Alexander Kimshchank came forward on Thursday to assert: “There are no pro-Iranian armed units in the south of Syria,” adding, “This issue has already been settled.”

Russia diplomats caught in a web of self-contradiction are less of a problem than the arrival of Hizballah and Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers to points just 2-3km from Israel’s Golan border. Their presence catches the Netanyahu government in contradiction of its frequent vows to prevent any Iranian or pro-Iranian forces from getting established in Syria, least of all on Israel’s border.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that because Tehran has escaped scot-free in Syria, Israel found its hands tied on the Gaza front against Hamas. On Friday, Netanyahu and Lieberman decided to accept Putin’s guarantees to keep Iranian forces at a distance from Israel’s borders – despite his repeated default on former guarantees. But no more than five hours elapsed before Hamas turned the Gaza flame high with a deadly cross-border attack on Israel border forces.

For the first time in more than three months of explosive balloon and flaming kite attacks and violent border assaults, Hamas surprised Israel by deploying trained marksmen against Israeli troops and killing one soldier.  The furious IDF tank and air force reprisal on 8 Hamas outposts killed 4 Palestinians and injured more than 100.
While getting set for the next round of a wide-ranging IDF counter-terror offensive in Gaza, the diplomatic wheels began turning. Egyptian General Intelligence Director Gen. Kemal Abbas and the UN Middle East envoy, Nikolai Maldanov were enlisted to the effort.

The Israeli public were told (a) that Israel fighter jets had conducted three large-scale sorties against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip Friday evening, as the prologue for a major ground operation, and (b) that Israel had asked Egypt to broker a ceasefire.

In fact, the Israeli jets dropped no more than 6 missiles on each Hamas command center attacked. Although they were said to have been flattened, they were damaged but remained standing.
After a quiet night on the Gaza front, Hamas offered Israel a dose of reality. On Saturday morning the terrorist group’s spokesmen commented that the ceasefire was very fragile and liable to break down at any moment. Furthermore, in none of the negotiations were the balloon-cum-kite offensive or the Palestinian border riots addressed and would therefore continue. Hamas had achieved exactly what it sought: the freedom to carry on as before, call the shots on when to goad the IDF into reprisals and to calibrate the level of escalation centering on the Gaza Strip.

After witnessing Israel’s handling of security threats on those two fronts, Hamas, Iran and Hizballah will feel free to continue to erode the IDF’s deterrence and self-confidence, while landing a fresh blow or setback on Israel’s head whenever they choose. Netanyahu-Putin phone calls will not change this skewed symmetry.

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2 Comments on “How Russia wangled Israel into phony Gaza “ceasefire,” and acceptance of Iranian/Hizballah in the north ”

  1. Peter Hofman Says:

    Senior Hamas Official Fathi Hammad: We Will Cleanse Palestine of the Filth of the Jews, Heal the Nation of the Jewish Cancer; Netanyahu, Lieberman, We Are Coming to Chop Off Your Heads!

    Hamas Political Bureau member Fathi Hammad, former Hamas minister of the interior, gave an address at a July 12 rally in Gaza, in which he said that “the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews, and their uprooting from it” would happen by 2022. “The second thing is the establishment of the Caliphate, after the nation has been healed of its cancer – the Jews – Allah willing,” said Hammad, stressing that despite Hamas’ participation in the peaceful Return March, they had not abandoned the military path of Jihad. His statements aired on the Al-Jazeera network. In another rally, on July 13, Hammad threatened Netanyahu and Lieberman, saying: “We are coming to chop your heads off your necks!” The July 13 rally was broadcast by the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV channel.

    MEMRI, July 19, 2018:

  2. Peter Hofman Says:

    Putin: ‘Powerful Forces’ Are Trying To Undermine U.S.-Russia Relations

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