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Netanyahu: Gaza cease-fire agreed following IDF recommendations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers to have the IDF responsible for the decision to end the fighting against Hamas, instead of admitting he caved into pressure by US President Joe Biden.
Israeli soldiers patrol Zikim beach near the border with the Gaza Strip after Israel and Hamas agreed on a cease-fire, Zikim, Israel, May 21, 2021.

Israel’s security Cabinet voted last night in favor of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, potentially ending almost 11 days of hostilities with Hamas. The decision was taken after days of international pressure, with US President Joe Biden actively campaigning for a truce. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu realized that the limited credit line issued by the “bank of America” had run out, i.e., that Washington was losing its patience, he opted for a cease-fire. Still, deeply familiar with Israeli public opinion, Netanyahu sought cover behind the leaders of Israel’s defense agencies. The statement issued by his office late on May 20, explained that the security Cabinet had voted for a cease-fire with Hamas, “on the recommendations” of the security chiefs.

Operation Guardian of the Walls was put to sleep a mere 10 days after it began, for various reasons. In military terms, the campaign had run its course. Absent a ground offensive and an attempt for face-to-face engagement with Hamas, there was no longer any point to the mutual pounding Hamas and Israel had delivered since May 10. This, in addition to Biden’s limited patience, led to a stalemate.

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