Possibility of peace 'eliminated' with killed Hamas military leader?

Palestinians help extinguish the fire after an Israeli air strike on the car of Hamas's top commander in Gaza City November 14, 2012. (Reuters)
Hamas blames Israel for breaking the truce negotiated right before the assassination of Hamas military leader. An Israeli source says it also wrecked talks which could lead to a longer-lasting peace.

Commander Jabari was killed 48 hours after a fragile truce was reached, Hamas senior spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Thursday.

He claimed that the Monday night agreement, mediated by Egypt, was broken by Israel.

The ceasefire was reached with each side warning the other that any breach of the ceasefire would not be tolerated.

On the eve of the ceasefire the Palestinian side reportedly “showed a high sense of responsibility” and asserted it would respect the truce, Hamas MP Ismail Haniyeh was quoted as saying by the media.

But Israeli officials had expressed more skepticism, saying there shouldn’t be any “illusions”.

Meanwhile, Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin told Haaretz, Jabari had been in the middle of permanent truce negotiations between Hamas and Israel.

Just hours before he was assassinated, the Hamas commander had received the draft of a long-term peace agreement with Israel, Baskin claimed.

Having kept communication channels with Gaza open since the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, the activist was well informed about the state of the negotiations.

The powerful Hamas leader played a vital part in those talks, Baskin said, adding that Jabari even prevented a number of recent flare-ups, having realized that the fighting was not “beneficial” to Gaza.

But the Israeli side did not want to form a lasting peace agreement with Hamas, Defense Minister Ehud Barak shelved the draft truce after a committee that was reviewing the proposal “decided not to decide”, the peace activist claimed.

He believes Israel has made a strategic mistake, adding that the blood of innocent people on both sides could have been spared if it were not for hungry-for-votes Israeli officials.

The peace activist never believed Jabari was “a righteous man of peace”, but said that his assassination “killed the possibility of achieving a truce.”

Foreign Policy analyst Dr Adil Shamoo confirmed that Hamas has been putting in real effort at controlling the Islamist jihadists, including having ongoing discussions about a permanent ceasefire.

“Hamas has been trying to have a peaceful relationship with Israel, while their colleagues, the Palestinian Authority, could negotiate a settlement for two-state solution,” Shamoo told RT.

However, he believes Israel never wanted peace with the option of two states in the first place.

“Israelis are the masters of Gaza and they would like to punish the prisoners because Gaza is an open prison for 1.5 million human beings, who lack medical care, schooling, food and clean water,” he said. “All of this is for making them submissive to the Israelis will and desire of having one large Israeli state. They are not interested in two-state solution, unfortunately.”