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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hamas 'accepts' Egyptian 'cease fire'?

It was reported about an hour ago that Hamas had accepted the Egyptian cease fire proposal. But at a press conference taking place in Cairo as I type this, Hamas says it has reservations about the Egyptian plan that it is refusing to detail. Don't expect Hamas to announce a cease fire tonight. The Hamas representatives holding the press conference are from Hamas Gaza. To date, most of the objections to a cease fire have come from the Hamas leadership in Syria and elsewhere. But note this from Hamas' Lebanon representative Osama Hamdan (pictured):
However, Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, said that Hamas's position regarding the Egyptian initiative had not changed. He said that despite reports that Hamas had agreed to the cease-fire initiative, there were still a number of differences between Egypt and the Islamist movement that needed to be addressed.
Arutz Sheva sets out a lot of good reasons why this 'cease fire' is bad news for Israel.
Initial reports say that Hamas in Gaza has agreed to Egypt's ceasefire plan. This would involve a cessation of hostilities as a first step. Later, crossings between Gaza and Egypt would reopen but they would be monitored by Fatah personnel and not Hamas's people. Hamas is expected to announce the main points of the agreement at a news conference later Wednesday evening.


Gaza terrorists possessed roughly 3,000 rockets, and possibly more, before the current fighting, estimates Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz (Likud), a former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Bar-Ilan University's Dr. Shlomo Shapiro said that although he does not know how many rockets Hamas possesses, it is probable that the number is more than the official estimate. He pointed out that Israeli officials underestimated Hizbullah's strength before the Second Lebanon War two years ago.

Accepting IDF estimates that 50 percent of the rocket arsenal has been eliminated and that another 600 rockets have been fired on Israel. Hamas retains at least several hundred rockets, most of them short-range, that still can wreak havoc on southern Israel.

Israeli intelligence officials estimated that Hamas amassed a 15,000-strong and well-trained army before Israel launched its Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in Gaza. Many of the Hamas fighters trained in Lebanon and Iran under Hizbullah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers.

Of the nearly 1,000 Gaza Arabs killed so far, only several hundred were terrorist fighters, according to well-informed sources.


MK Steinitz called proposed the idea of guarantees against weapons smuggling "nonsense," noting that such supposed guarantees, with Israeli surveillance cameras and foreign observers, were supposed to work after the IDF withdrew from the area three years ago. [I guess that's why he voted for the expulsion three years ago. CiJ]

"If we do not pay the price of taking over the entire Gaza region, including the Philadelphi smuggling route, we will pay a bigger price later," according to MK Steinitz. He predicted that a truce now would turn Hamas into another Hizbullah and would be a repeat of Israel's agreement to end the Second Lebanon War with supposed United Nations guarantees that were to end the presence of Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.

Instead, the terrorist organization within a year smuggled three times the number of rockets it possessed before the beginning of the war.

The New York Times noted Wednesday, "Despite heavy air and ground assaults, Israel has yet to cripple the military wing of Hamas or destroy the group’s ability to launch rockets."

The military humiliation of Hamas may cause it to want a quick ceasefire, which would allow the organization to regroup.
And this government, which wants to consolidate its political gains rather than chance them on an expanded operation that could wipe out Hamas' military capabilities is all too willing to allow Hamas time to regroup.

But Hamas won't do it unless they can claim a victory. And we can only hope the Israeli government won't be foolish enough to give them that opportunity.


I now have some more details about Hamas' reservations with respect to the Egyptian 'cease fire' plan. The 'reservations' are that they don't accept the plan. As of now, it's not going to happen.
Sources close to Hamas said that while some progress had been achieved in the talks, it was premature to talk about a cease-fire agreement.

They said that the Egyptians put heavy pressure on the Hamas officials and even threatened them against rejecting the initiative.

"There are still some sticking points," the sources said. "We still haven't reached an agreement over the length of the proposed cease-fire and the future of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip."

They said that Hamas was prepared to accept a short-term cease-fire with Israel, while the Egyptians were pressing for a long-term truce. [If the government accepts a 'short-term cease fire,' Livni and Barak can kiss their election hopes good-bye. CiJ].

Hamas, the sources explained, is also insisting on playing a role in the management of the border crossings, particularly the Rafah terminal. The Egyptians want to hand over the terminal to forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, that used to run the border crossing until they were kicked out by Hamas in 2007.
Hamas apparently hasn't figured out yet that they are losing. Badly. But then, the Arabs still haven't figured out that they lost in 1967 yet either, and unfortunately Israel is unwilling to shove that loss down the Arabs' throats. So we continue to 'negotiate.'


At 8:45 PM, Blogger Outrider said...

The Iranians have stated they will cut all arms shipments if Hamas agrees to the Egyptian sponsored peace plan. Does Hamas have a better sponsor somewhere in the wings?

Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, and Said Jalili of the Iranian Intelligence Service met with Hamas representatives and laid out the implications of accepting the peace initiative.

The Iranians want to fight Israel and the US indirectly. They are doing this through Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

They would be foolish enough to give them that without even getting Gilad Shalit back in return. And every one in Israel knows international guarantees are worthless. Bottom line: if Israel falls for it, Hamas survives and gets to rebuild to fight another day. And this entire war will have been fought for what? Another meaningless hudna Israel's corrupt and weak leaders think they can get the country to buy it - if they get a fig leaf big enough to protect themselves in having arranged another humiliating and disgraceful surrender by Israel to an enemy bent upon her destruction. There's no other way people will read the outcome of the war if that is all Israel agrees to in the end.

At 11:25 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'm amazed Israel sent a "negotiator" to Cairo. Normally, the losing side asks for the surrender arrangements to be worked out. Israel is not doing the Palestinians a favor if she spares them from the reality of a defeat. And its only through a clear and unequivocal military defeat that they will ever reconsider their fantasy of destroying Israel. Israel should tell the Egyptians the only ceasefire terms it is prepared to accept is a complete and unconditional surrender by Hamas. If it does not accept those terms outright, it will face total destruction. That is the right way and the only way, to end this war.

At 1:36 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

HAT TIP FOR CARL: Daniel Doron explains why Israel is fighting longer than necessary and why the war hasn't achieved most of its objectives. Israel's leaders don't want to win. And they are blinded by the nonsensical "concept" there is no military solution to terrorism. In truth, it has been one - a lasting and permanent one in every past conflict in history.


Read it all.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Hamas has supposedly turned down the Egyptian ceasefire offer. As it stands, Amos Gilad might as well go home. Israel should not be in the business of throwing a terrorist organization a lifeline. It should be take all the steps necessary to destroy it. I wonder why that is so hard for Israel's leaders to get done but as Daniel Doron has pointed out, Israel's government today seems morbidly afraid of "victory."


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