Monday, January 5, 2009

Gaza Cease Fire Rumors and Premonitions - 1701 all over again?

What is the end goal of the Gaza operation? Your guess might be as good as any. Toppling Hamas is not on the menu according to repeated Israeli announcements. It is not even a "nice to have" addition to the requirements list. Some things that are afoot:

Egypt to demand Hamas accept immediate truce in Gaza - 
Egyptian officials said Monday that Cairo was set to demand an immediate cease-fire from Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as Israeli forces moved into their 10th day of a military offensive on the coastal territory.
And more interestingly, a report that Israel is examining an international treaty that would isolate Hamas:
The United States has launched an international effort, which includes Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians, to formulate a ceasefire agreement that would neutralize Hamas' influence in the region, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem reported Sunday night.

The move will be carried out with the support of the international community.

According to Olmert, Israel is interested in a ceasefire agreement that would bring to an isolation of Hamas and include the following conditions: A stop to the rocket fire and the terror emanating from Gaza, as well as to Hamas' military buildup, and the deployment of international forces in the Gaza Strip to enforce the implementation of a truce.

The release of Gilad Shalit will also be stipulated as one of Israel's terms for a halt to the fighting as part of any future agreement.

A senior source in Jerusalem said Sunday: "After Israel launched the ground incursion, the world realized it must wake up and abide by the conditions set by Israel.

"... the American initiative is based on the agreement of the four elements that surround the only geographical territory in the world
that is ruled by a terrorist entity - Gaza."

The official explained that the initiative does not include negotiations with Hamas, but rather forcing such a regional treaty on the organization.
He added that Olmert has made it clear to the Americans and to other world leaders involved in the move, that Israel's conditions were not negotiable, and that if they are not obtained through a diplomatic course, they would be secured through the military operation.

One suspects that Gilad Shalit may be returned in parts. It is not clear why Hamas would agree to any such conditions, or who would enforce them or how. Does anyone believe any UN "monitors" will risk getting blown up in order to stop Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Popular Resistance Committees from launching rockets at Israel? Hamas, after all, can claim that it is these other organizations that are violating the conditions.  It seems that Condoleezza Rice has cooked up another UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and sold it to Zippy Tzipi Livni again.
Ami Isseroff

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