It now seems that all these speculations failed to take into account the true nature of Hamas. We often forget that Hamas is a criminal organization—a group of terrorists working together with other terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad for the sole purpose of destroying the nation-state of the Jewish people and killing as many of its citizens as possible. Criminals and terrorists don't play by the rules of civilized society. It now seems likely that Hamas and its co-conspirators agreed to the deal for the sole purpose of lulling Israel into accepting it so that they could catch Israel off guard and exploit the humanitarian cease fire to achieve one of the most important goals of the war they started: namely to kidnap an Israeli soldier or civilian and hold them hostage until their extortionate demands were met.
The reason some people actually believed that Hamas would play by the rules and maintain the cease fire to which it agreed, is because the media, the UN, and some in the international community falsely equate Israel, a democratic country that abides by the rule of law, with Hamas, a terrorist organization comprised of criminals who commit double war crimes every time they fire rockets at Israeli civilians from behind Palestinian civilians and whenever they hide terrorist tunnels in civilian areas.
The conflict is seen not as one between good and evil, or between criminals and those who seek to enforce the law, but rather as between two parties with equal claims. This false symmetry only encourages Hamas to exploit this status by appearing to play by the rules, while never intending to do so.
Israel has learned its harsh lesson. It will never again agree to a cease fire with Hamas that in any way depends on mutual trust. One hopes that the world too has learned a lesson. It should never try to pressure Israel into taking any action or inaction that relies on Hamas' good faith.
Since it was the United States and United Nations that asked Israel to accept the cease fire that led to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, it is now their responsibility to demand the return of the soldier with no conditions. The United States has accepted this responsibility. Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following statement:
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today's attack, which led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the apparent abduction of another…
The best proof, if any were needed, that Hamas is a criminal organization, is that it regards the kidnapped soldier not as a prisoner of war but as a hostage. Responsible armed forces capture soldiers; criminal organizationskidnap them. Responsible armed forces allow the Red Cross to visit captured soldiers; criminal organizations keep them incommunicado and allow no Red Cross visitors. Real armed forces release soldiers when the combat is over; criminal groups hold their kidnap victims until their ransom demands are met. Finally, real armed forces protect the lives of captured enemy soldiers; criminal gangs often murder their kidnap victims, as Hamas members murdered the three Israeli children they kidnapped earlier this year.
President Obama has recognized the difficulties faced by Israel in protecting its citizens from rockets and terror tunnels that are deliberately placed in hospitals, United Nations facilities, mosques and civilian homes. There is a considerable amount of open spaces in the Gaza Strip. Just look at population density maps (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/v3_israel_palestinians/maps/html/population_settlements.stm) rather than listening to the misstatement repeatedly parroted by the media: namely that the Gaza Strip is the most densely populated area on earth. It's not even close. There are cities within the Strip that are densely populated, but there are other areas—some of them quite large—in the Gaza Strip that are relatively sparsely populated. If Hamas were to fire its rockets from, and placed their terror tunnels in these open areas, there would be few civilian casualties. But it is part of Hamas' strategy to place these lethal weapons in densely populated areas, precisely in order to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties.
Israeli soldiers and civilians should not have to pay the price for this cruel, unlawful and barbaric tactic.