BREAKING: Hamas Says They’ve Agreed to a Ceasefire as Israel Begins Rafah Operation; Israel Doesn’t Agree

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was edited post-publication to reflect information from the Israeli government about the terms Hamas is proposing.)

On Monday Israel began its operation to take Rafah as part of its campaign to eliminate Hamas. An evacuation of civilians from the eastern side of the city coincided with targeted strikes, signaling that the long-awaited invasion of the terrorist government’s last stronghold was underway. 

That came after a rocket attack killed four IDF soldiers and injured 10 more on Sunday, seeming to provide the final push over the edge for the Israelis.

Four Israeli soldiers were killed and 10 more were wounded in a Hamas-claimed rocket attack on a staging ground near the Gaza Strip on Sunday, prompting the military to shutter a key border crossing…
…Another 10 soldiers were wounded, including two soldiers of the 931st Battalion and a soldier of the Shaked Battalion who were listed in serious condition, the Israel Defense Forces said.
More than 10 rockets were fired from the Rafah area in southern Gaza in the attack, according to the IDF.

There’s been a plot twist, though. Hamas announced that they’ve agreed to a “ceasefire.” 

According to reports, the deal doesn’t include any hostage exchange and the terms were not shared with Israel or the U.S., and wasn’t part of a discussion Biden and Netanhayu had just a few hours ago. 

And, Israeli officials are calling Hamas’ announcement “a trick,” saying the proposal is one-sided, didn’t receive Israeli approval, and includes terms considered unacceptable.

The context of this appears clear. Hamas didn’t want a deal when it felt like Israel wouldn’t move into Rafah, with the Biden administration helping provide cover for the terrorists by denouncing any invasion of the area. Now that the operation has begun, Hamas wants to call a timeout and buy themselves more time. That’s a sure sign that Yahya Sinwar, the military leader of Hamas in Gaza, feels cornered.

Should Hamas be allowed to play this game after scoffing at a possible ceasefire for months and claiming they didn’t even know how many hostages remained alive? That’ll be up for Israel to decide, but it would seem foolish to backtrack now. This doesn’t end until Hamas no longer exists, and the longer this is drawn out, the more suffering there will be long-term.

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