Hamas Calls for Time Out

Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin announced today that “Hamas has studied all the developments and has reached a decision to call a truce, or a suspension of fighting activities.” Presumably Hamas’ desire to enter into a “cease fire,” said to be good for three months, results from the damage that Israel has done to its organization in recent weeks.
Hamas’ announcement was greeted coolly by Israel; a spokesman said any truce agreement by Hamas “is not worth the paper it’s written on.” Israel continued to demand that the Palestinian Authority proceed to “dismantle” Hamas and other terrorist groups, and said it would continue to target any “ticking bombs” as needed to protect its citizens.
As a practical matter, Hamas may very well break off attacks for a while, and that likely will result in a reduction or cessation of prophylactic attacks by Israel. But whether that development has any significance depends on whether it merely provides a breather for Hamas to regroup–undoubtedly what Hamas has in mind–or whether the PA proceeds to take action against Hamas and other terrorist groups. The latter alternative is unlikely, given that the PA has so far disclaimed any willingness or ability to do so.
Along those lines, Haaretz also reports that Israel is asking the U.S. for guarantees that terrorist groups will be dismantled in the areas where the PA assumes security responsibility.

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