The Egyptian government is reportedly pressing Hamas to hurry up and agree to a ceasefire with Israel’s outgoing Kadima-led government before next month’s elections. Several terms are yet to be agreed upon by both sides, but they have maintained a ceasefire for over a week and negotiations continue.
But if Hamas pushes the negotiations past the election, officials caution, the likely victory of a coalition led by the right-wing Likud Party, which condemned the notion of ending the war in the first place, could derail negotiations. Hamas appears to have won some key concessions from the current Israeli government, including a promise to open the long-closed border crossings, critically important as the war torn nation struggles in vain to repair the damage from the invasion. The two sides continue to differ on the length of the ceasefire and other terms.
Polls continue to show the Likud Party with a significant lead in the upcoming elections, and likely coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu gaining enormously on the back of leader Avigdor Lieberman’s attempts to ban Arab opposition parties and his pledge to require Arabs to take a loyalty oath or lose their citizenship.