In this article:

  • What really happened with the Hamas ‘deal’ and why the media misled people
  • Why conflating the closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings paints incorrect picture about aid

“Hamas has agreed to a deal!” declared the headlines on Monday. This was accompanied by reporters keen to point out that Israel had refused the deal that was on the table and hadn’t yet responded to Hamas’s agreement, choosing to point out that despite Hamas “accepting” a deal, Israel was still intent on entering Rafah.

Staring total defeat in the face, it’s not surprising that Hamas made a last-ditch attempt to trigger more international pressure upon Israel to avoid its intentions to target the last Hamas stronghold. But the ceasefire agreement that Hamas claimed to have agreed to was not the same as what had been placed on the table before Israel by Egyptian and Qatari mediators days before. Rather, Hamas made significant changes to that proposal and effectively agreed to their own crafted deal. Overlooking this, the media made a big mistake of turning the focus to Israel’s seeming lack of cooperation, portraying Hamas as the “good-guys” that wanted an end to the war. It also gave further legitimacy to world leaders who bizarrely seem eager to stop Israel from entering Rafah and winning this war.

Firstly, in the original proposal, Israel had sought to have 40 living hostages released in the first stage in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel, then made a concession of reducing to 33. However, Hamas’s amendments stated that the 33 hostages may be “alive or dead”.  Hamas also demanded that Israel is to cease military operations in the first six-week stage of the three-stage deal, in which 33 hostages (dead or alive) are to be freed, and that the IDF must “withdraw completely” from Gaza and a “permanent cessation of military operations” must take effect before any more hostages are freed in the second stage.

In other words, Hamas is aiming to survive the war and regain control over the entire Gaza Strip – something Israel has vowed to not allow.

Israel has consistently said it will not accept a deal that entails a permanent ceasefire, and that it will resume its military campaign after any truce-for-hostages deal, in order to complete its two declared war goals: freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas’s military and governance capabilities.

Confusion over crossings

Similar smoke and mirrors again caused confusion this week over the border crossings. In Israel’s counterterrorism operation in Rafah, the IDF secured control of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt in a limited ground-incursion. This strategic move, together with strikes on Hamas tunnels, meant Israel could reduce the risk of Hamas terrorists escaping and put more pressure upon Hamas to accept a deal.

Around the same time, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom cross between Gaza and Israel, but for different reasons. The closure was temporary after Hamas fired 10 missiles at the crossing, killing four Israeli soldiers. Kerem Shalom is one of the main crossings used to deliver aid into Gaza and has been targeted by Hamas five times so far this week. Hamas is intent on stopping aid from entering Gaza, yet there were reports this week that conflated Israel’s closure of the Rafah crossing, which is not generally an aid route, and the Kerem Shalom. COGAT, the governmental agency that coordinates the border, reports that in April 4,570 trucks of food, 193 trucks of water, 205 trucks of medical supplies and 1073 trucks of shelter equipment were transported into Gaza across the Israel border. And this aid has continued this week, despite being closed for three days after being attacked by Hamas.

Yet, voices across the world have raised the alarm that Israel’s closing the border is to blame for Gaza ‘running out’ of aid. This is simply not true.

The enemies of Israel are using smoke and mirrors to smear Israel. This benefits Hamas in the battle for the narrative, but Israel will not be deterred. They will continue to do exactly what they have stated they will do within international law, but without the pressure from the media and politicians to back down from defeating Hamas.