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Thursday, May 01, 2008

We will cease, they will fire

JPost is reporting this morning that Israel is expected to agree to an Egyptian-brokered, American imposed 'cease fire' with Hamas before President Bush's May 13 arrival here. Earlier this week, it was reported that the Bush administration was pressuring Israel to agree to the 'cease fire' - to which the IDF is vehemently opposed. Apparently, as part of the deal, the Rafah border crossing - which has been close since European 'monitors' fled from it after Hamas' coup last summer - will be reopened with the 'good terrorists' of Fatah providing 'security' instead of the Europeans. (The picture at the top is of Hamas 'operating' the crossing last June).
The Post has also learned that a clause in the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which has already been accepted by Hamas, is the reopening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai according to the terms of the 2005 agreement reached by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Hamas, according to the deal, would not be allowed to maintain a presence at the crossing.

Based on the 2005 agreement, European monitors would deploy at the crossing and assist Palestinian Authority officers from the Force 17 Presidential Guard - loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas - in running the border terminal.

"The acceptance of the terms of the deal will enable the PA to deploy in Rafah and essentially return to Gaza for the first time since Hamas took over last June," the official said.
Israel is apparently playing a game in which it will accept the 'cease fire' when it sees that it is implemented by the 'Palestinians.' It is doing this in order not to break down the boycott of Hamas. The 'Palestinian' clans who act as surrogates for the major terror organizations (Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad) have already agreed to take a break and re-arm.
According to top Israeli defense officials, Defense Minister Ehud Barak is leaning toward accepting the cease-fire offer. Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman is expected to visit Israel in the coming days to present the offer to Israel and to hear its response. He will likely meet with Barak as well as with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

On Wednesday, a dozen small Palestinian factions, including Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, gave their consent to the cease-fire proposal during a meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo. Last week, Hamas said it would accept a six-month Gaza-first cease-fire, and dropped an earlier demand that the truce also include the West Bank.

On Wednesday, diplomatic officials in Jerusalem made it clear that if Egypt and Hamas were waiting for a formal and public Israeli acceptance of the cease-fire agreement, they would be waiting in vain. However, a careful reading of the statement the government put out on the matter shows an Israeli readiness to accept the deal.

"We are not in any way referring specifically to what went on in Cairo," Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said in a carefully worded statement. "We don't need words, but rather tangible steps."

Regev said the government's goal was "calm in the South, and for calm to be sustainable it has to embody three vital elements: the total absence of hostile fire from Gaza, the end of terrorist attacks and the complete end of arms transfers into Gaza."

This was a marked change in tone for the Prime Minister's Office, which previously had largely dismissed the Egyptian-Hamas talks as little more than an attempt by Hamas to buy time so it could reorganize and re-arm.

Regev said that if the three conditions were met in Gaza tomorrow, there would be calm there tomorrow.

When asked whether the IDF would stop operations in the West Bank if there were quiet in Gaza, Regev said that if there were quiet in Gaza, Israel would stop operations in Gaza, not in the West Bank.

One diplomatic source said that the third condition, ending the arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip, made Egypt a party to the deal and placed a greater responsibility on it to do more to end the smuggling.
If any of you doubt the Bush administration's role in this....
Diplomatic officials said it was no coincidence that this agreement was being finalized on the eve of Rice's visit to the region - she is scheduled to arrive on Saturday night - and a little more than a week before US President George W. Bush visit here.

Bush is expected to arrive on May 13, and after taking part in Independence Day ceremonies here and then go on to Saudi Arabia to mark 75 years of US-Saudi ties. From there he is scheduled to go to Egypt. Cairo, according to diplomatic officials in Jerusalem, was certainly eager to broker the cease-fire deal with Hamas before Bush visited, to win US favor.
This is being sold to the Israeli public as something that might help free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit (note the current headline in the Post article I have been linking: "Cease-fire will be boost for Schalit release, says official"). But reality is that the only thing that might help release Shalit would be if Israel were to release several hundred terrorists with blood on their hands. So far, that has not happened.

One other little tidbit in that article: In the first four months of this year, 'Palestinian' terrorists in Gaza fired over 900 rockets at Israel's western Negev. While the number of rockets may drop in the short-term, this 'cease fire' is only likely to make the rocket fire worse a few months from now. What a consoling thought.


At 10:06 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

If even one Israeli dies, or injured, because of Olmert's irresponsible caving to US pressure, he should be held personally liable.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

When will Israel get rid of Olmert? His government has led Israel from a position of strength to one of presumed weakness.

Call for new elections now!

At 3:29 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Want to free Gilad Shalit?


Stop all contact with any and all Israeli held palestinians with the outside world.

Start a shoot to kill policy for all armed palestinians on sight...

State the concept that unless Gilad Shalit is freed Israel will continue armed operations any where until Gilad Shalit is freed, if he is dead? Israel will seek out any and all Hamas leadership and kill them

that's a good start

At 9:21 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its just intended buy the bozos who run Israel a little breathing space til after Independence Day next week. There's no chance the Palestinians will keep this agreement any more than they have ever kept their past ones. All it does is postpone the war that's coming and sooner or later Israel will have to deal with Hamas by force.


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