Israel has rejected a call by the head of the Hamas-led Palestinian government for a ceasefire to end several days of fierce fighting in the Gaza Strip. Ismail Haniya had said the only way out of the current crisis was for all parties to restore calm through a mutual cessation of hostilities. However, officials in the Israeli PM's office said there would be no truce until a captured Israeli soldier was free.
This is one of those moments when both sides are staring each other in the eye waiting for the other to blink. Israel has shown resolve in getting its soldier back and resolve in defending its citizens and borders against acts of terrorism. What it needs to show now, to the Palestinians, and to the world, is that it is humane too.
That means blinking, but the consequences are different than what is normally thought. By showing that after exertion, it can also show restraint, the ceasefire, and the follow-up action is actually up to Hamas. In essence, the “ball is in Hamas’s court” and since Hamas as a Party can not decide what to do and the Palestinian government is split on how to react, such an action by Israel should be reflected positively in the eyes of the media and the diplomats trying to free the soldier, supported by international pressure on Hamas.
Israel has dealt with act of violence before. It is hoped that with such sad experience comes maturity.