WASHINGTON, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - US Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace mission to Cairo to end the fighting between Hamas and Israel is premature, Former Deputy Defense Minister of Israel, Ephraim Sneh told RIA Novosti.
“When the Secretary of State of the United States of America flies to the region, he can’t fly back empty-handed,” said Sneh during a conference call hosted by the Israel Policy Forum.
“If he is here, he has to come out with something. Something, in this case, is a premature ceasefire,” he said.
Kerry arrived in Cairo Monday evening to try to broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in a conflict which has gone on for 16 days with virtually uninterrupted bloodshed. Under pressure from the international community, Kerry was widely expected to help broker a truce between the two sides of the conflict.
“When he comes, he has to fly back home with a tangible result. What is the tangible result in such a war? Ceasefire. Ceasefire today - too early,” Sneh told RIA Novosti.
On Wednesday, Kerry announced to the press that there had been “some progress” in moving toward the goal of a ceasefire. Following meetings with both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Kerry noted optimistically that “there is a framework available to end the violence.”
Sneh said he was initially "one of those who very strongly supported the peace mission of Secretary Kerry in the region, where most of the others were very cynical about it,” but now considers such a mission "at least premature.”
Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge on July 8, with the alleged objective to prevent Hamas militants from firing rockets from Gaza. At least 31 Israelis have been killed in the past 16 days of the Israeli ground offensive.