Between Hamas And Israel, What Might An Endgame Look Like? : Parallels Both Israel and Hamas say they are unwilling to sign on to a bare-bones cease-fire. Some say the key to peace may be empowering the moderate Fatah party, but it's unclear who could broker such a deal.
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Between Hamas And Israel, What Might An Endgame Look Like?

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Between Hamas And Israel, What Might An Endgame Look Like?

Between Hamas And Israel, What Might An Endgame Look Like?

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish. The fighting between Israel and Hamas is about to enter its eighth day. A ceasefire has been proposed by Egypt and the Israeli cabinet is expected to meet and discuss it. NPR's Ari Shapiro explores what it might take to bring this fight to a close.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Both Israel and Hamas say, they are unwilling to sign on to a straightforward, put-down-your-weapons, bare-bones ceasefire. They say, quiet for quiet, calm for calm is not enough. They want more. Retired Brigadier Michael Herzog describes Israel's demands. He was part of Israel's negotiating team with Palestinians in the past.

MICHAEL HERZOG: What Israel really wants is to make sure that the cease-fire is as stable and as long as possible. So the idea is not to have a replay of such a confrontation every few months.

SHAPIRO: So some people in Israel's government say, any cease-fire should require Hamas to hand over all its weapons, sort of the way Syria gave up its chemical weapons. Herzog says, that's never going to happen.

SHAPIRO: They give up their weapons; they lose enough power, so they're not going to volunteer that. And I just don't see any outside power that is willing and capable of going into Gaza and forcing the issue on them.

SHAPIRO: So Herzog says, the Israelis will probably have to lower their expectations. On the other side, Hamas has its own set of demands. Mushir al-Masri is a Hamas spokesman.

MUSHIR AL-MASRI: (Through translator) The minimum is to stop the aggression against Palestinians, end the eight year siege on Gaza and release Palestinian prisoners.

SHAPIRO: Hamas leaders also say, they want Egypt to re-open its border with Gaza and they want money to pay the salaries of public employees. Hereto, analysts say, expectations may be too high. Alon Liel used to direct Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

ALON LIEL: Can Hamas put any conditions at this stage? It looks, excuse me, I don't want to sound arrogant, it looks like a joke.

SHAPIRO: He says the fact that no Israelis have died gives Hamas a weaker hand here. Nevertheless outside pressure is growing on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to wrap this up says Reuven Hazan. He's chair of the political science department at Hebrew University.

REUVEN HAZAN: First of all there's growing condemnation of Israel, even though the United States hasn't come out against Israel, several European countries are beginning and this will escalate day by day.

SHAPIRO: And with the Palestinian death toll over 180 Hamas is under internal pressure to find a way out of this. So what's the key to this puzzle? It may not sound obvious but a range of people say Israel could try the carrot instead of the stick. First here's Sabri Saydam a member of the modern Palestinian Fatah Party.

SABRI SAYDAM: The people of Gaza feel that they are living in a prisons and that status of a prison would have to be ended and now will come the question of the reconstructive Gaza.

SHAPIRO: Retired Brigadier general Herzog has almost the exact same prescription. He says the key is to make it look like you're not rewarding Hamas for its attacks on Israel. Empower the more moderate Fatah party he says and undermine Hamas.

HERZOG: So you do something for the people but Hamas does not benefit politically, it's not rewarded for violence and I personally would also support some economic assistance to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

SHAPIRO: Then there's the big question of whether there are any good candidates to broker this deal.

HAZAN: The simple answer is no.

SHAPIRO: Political sciences Hazan says Egypt was always the broker in the past.

HAZAN: But the current military leadership in Egypt is probably as anti-Hamas if not even more than Israel.

SHAPIRO: Turkey and the U.S. are in the mix but neither has the trust of both sides. In short there is no perfect third- party broker. So, an imperfect one is the only hope. Ari Shapiro, NPR New, Jerusalem.

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