Ceasefire Holds as Rosh Hashanah Begins
JERUSALEM, Israel -- With the Jewish New Year beginning Wednesday at sundown, there's an undeniable optimism in the air -- evidence of Israel's determination to turn lemons into lemonade.
With the summer war behind them and jihadist forces battling one another all around them, many Israelis still believe the Jewish state has a bright future.
The temporary ceasefire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip appears to be holding, at least for now. There are no air raid sirens going off. In a few hours, families will be sitting down to enjoy a festive holiday meal together.
In Cairo Tuesday, Israeli and Palestinian delegations agreed to postpone ceasefire talks until the end of October.
After the Hamas delegation, made up of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah members, and the Israeli delegation presented their requirements for a long-term agreement, talks were adjourned.
Earlier Tuesday, the Arab delegation suspended its participation for two hours after learning that Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, responsible for kidnapping and murdering three Israeli teens last June, were killed in a firefight with Israeli forces in Hebron.
Hamas operative Salah Bardawil called the operation an "assassination" and blamed security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the P.A.'s semi-official Ma'an news agency reported Wednesday.
But despite their demands for an extended ceasefire with Israel, which includes a deep water port, an airport and ending restrictions on who and what goes in and out of Gaza (all without renouncing its terror campaign against Israel or acknowledging the Jewish state's right to exist), Hamas seems uninterested in resuming rocket attacks -- at least for now.
Some say Hamas achieved very little in its latest conflagration with Israel, suffering a humiliating defeat and plummeting popularity among Gaza residents.
The abduction and murder of the three Jewish teenagers, daily rocket salvos and construction of sophisticated attack tunnels didn't bring the desired results, outside of fueling anti-Israel sentiment.
At least some of its efforts to cast Israel as the aggressor fell short of expectations, as Israel mounted its own public relations campaign to show what really took place during the 50-day military operation.
At the end of the day, the ceasefire is holding and Israelis are ready to welcome the New Year -- 5775 on the Hebrew calendar -- hopeful the coming year holds blessing and peace for the Jewish nation-state.