Reaction Mixed as Hamas 'Snatches Win from Defeat'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israelis had mixed reactions to the latest Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on Wednesday. 

CBN News, meanwhile, spoke with two former ambassadors who told us they think the ceasefire is a mistake.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Yoram Ettinger told CBN News the government repeated its past mistakes and gave Hamas a victory. He said it effectively enabled Hamas to "snatch success out of the jaws of defeat."

"The goal never should have been a ceasefire or quiet," Ettinger said. "The goal should have been to eliminate Hamas' infrastructure of rockets."

In a telling move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided against bringing the latest proposal to a vote in the eight-member Security Council. Some believe it was to avoid opposition by nearly half the ministers.

Instead, he accepted Egypt's proposal on Israel's behalf.

In essence, Israel and Hamas agreed to the same proposal Egyptian mediators presented a month ago. At that time Israel accepted it while Hamas immediately broke it by continued rocket attacks.

Ettinger said the government is leaving citizens exposed to Hamas again. A responsible government should have destroyed the terror infrastructure, he said.

"The public was more hawkish than the government," Ettinger asserted. "Now we have an agreement that maintains Hamas instead of destroying it."

Netanyahu's approval rating reached a whopping 82 percent after the IDF launched its ground incursion on July 17, about 10 days into Operation Protective Edge. The popularity boon indicated the country stood united behind the decision to send troops into Gaza, despite the danger.

Israel lost 64 soldiers in the ground incursion before the IDF withdrew the last of the troops on Aug. 5.

But this week, Netanyahu's approval rating plummeted to 38 percent even before the ceasefire went into effect, with the country split 50/50 in favor and against the truce.

Former Israeli Ambassador Zvi Mazel told CBN News on the one hand, Israelis are happy with the respite. But most know the fighting will resume eventually.

There's an uneasy feeling among Israelis, he said.

"Hamas should have been destroyed. Hamas is not fighting for a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It is fighting for an Islamic state, like ISIS and al Qaeda."

Mazel said while Israel seriously hurt Hamas, its leadership is still intact. It doesn't matter that some of its leaders were killed because Hamas is still alive as a fighting force.

He said Egyptian mediators played "a very important role" in bringing Hamas to finally accept its initiative and Israel's demands. But he predicted Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas will not achieve more influence in Gaza.

"Hamas will continue to rule Gaza and Abu Mazan [Abbas' nom de guerre] won't be welcome there," Mazel said.

Hamas lives to destroy Israel and "it will start on that course again," he warned.

As long as Hamas retains control of the Gaza Strip, it appears the latest ceasefire will not achieve lasting results.

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Tzippe Barrow and Chris Mitchell

Tzippe Barrow and Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau

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