In rejecting the Egyptian proposal for a cease fire, Hamas appears to be rejecting the only way to avoid an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza. It is still possible that a cease fire will be put back together today, but time is running out to avoid that ground attack. Israel cannot keep 40,000 reservists sitting around for weeks while Hamas rockets fly.
My own views on this were put forward in The Weekly Standard today, and can be found here. Basically, I think Hamas is losing this war badly and is unwilling to accept that defeat–whatever the cost to Gazans. Hamas has done little property damage in Israel, has not hit any symbolically important target, and has killed not one single Israeli. The Egyptian proposal would have stopped the fighting but not given Hamas any of its stated goals, such as getting the release of Hamas terrorists who had been exchanged for Gilad Shalit but recently re-arrested. Hamas also appears to want Turkey or Qatar to mediate the cease fire, because it views Egypt as deeply hostile under its new government.
If Israel comes into Gaza, one has to assume some IDF soldiers will be killed. Perhaps then Hamas will claim a partial victory and agree to a cease fire. This is a polite way of saying Hamas feels it has not spilled enough Israeli blood and wants some- and of course is unconcerned about how many Palestinians will die.
Here’s article eight of the Hamas Charter:
The Slogan of the Hamas
Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.