The reason: Hamas just accepted the same Egyptian peace proposal which it rejected on July 15th.
If it would have accepted that offer then, which Israel did accept, the conflict would have stopped. Many lives would have been saved.
But instead Hamas rejected the deal. It did have its own reasons, one of which was that it was not consulted. Thats understandable. But at least it should have agreed to the ceasefire and negotiated to see where things go. Rejecting the Egyptian offer which called for immediate ceasefire followed by negotiations out of hand put the Arab league on the side of Israel, and against Hamas.
Not only Hamas rejected the offer, it also put its own preconditions for a ceasefire.
According to the Guardian:
Hamas has specifically called for the lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and the release of Palestinian prisoners Israel rearrested after freeing them in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.
And now Hamas has accepted the same ceasefire agreement that was offered on July 15th.
So what happened?
In my opinion because it seems that Israel found an intelligence hole in Hamas’s network and around a week before the actual ceasefire, it started assassinating high ranking Hamas commanders. These included one of its chief financial officers, 3 senior military commanders.
There was also a massive air strike on August 20th which killed the wife and child of chief Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif. Hamas denies that he was killed. Personally, I think he is dead. Its difficult to imagine how he would have survived such a massive attack. If he were alive, Hamas would have released voice of recordings of him to put an end to such reports. This would have also been a massive morale boost for Hamas supporters. But it hasn’t.
Hamas cares much more about its own leaders than innocent Gazans. Once it saw that its leadership is being attacked, it was motivated more than ever to accept immediate ceasefire, which it finally did on August 26th.
So Israel got what it wanted. Hamas agreed to accept a ceasefire, without any preconditions.
Such an achievement will soon become worthless, if the siege against Gaza is not eased to allow exports from Gaza. The economic misery in Gaza will create more wars in the future.
And if Netanyahu does not pursue serious peace negotiations with Abbas after the recent conflict, then he will have betrayed Israel and her citizens.
And please don’t give me this nonsense Likud line that “Abbas is weak, so no point in talking with him”. Netanyahu wants him to take over Gaza. If Abbas is strong enough for Netanyahu to want him to take over Gaza, he is strong enough to talk to and to reach a deal with.