(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:

Gaza Cease-Fire In Offing

Hamas & Israel appear ready to consider Egyptian brokered ceasefire agreement for Gaza

Israeli official hopes: The devil will not be in the fine print of the arms smuggling arrangement

IDF keeps up military pressure while Al-Qaeda's Osama Bin-Laden eggs on Hamas

IDF forces operating at night in the Gaza Strip

Israeli leaders hope that Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad will return from Cairo with a serious Egyptian deal for a durable ceasefire that will also prevent future arms smuggling from Egypt into the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. If so, Israel and Hamas are expected to implement a halt to the current warfare. However an Israeli official told IsraCast: "we hope the devil will not be in the fine print of the arms smuggling arrangement".

The latest signs are that the entire Hamas leadership is ready to accept an Egyptian brokered ceasefire with Israel. Even Haled Mashal, the hard-line Hamas leader safe in Damascus now agrees with Hamas - Gaza that it's best to go for the cease- fire. However, an Israeli official cautions: "The devil may be in the fine print of the arrangement to prevent more Hamas arms smuggling from Egyptian controlled Sinai into Gaza". It was this arms-smuggling that triggered the current war and which Israel vows to stop one way or another. There is no question that Hamas is reeling from the relentless Israeli military strikes which now include special operations into Gaza City, the major stronghold of the Hamas guerrillas. Despite the ceasefire expectations emanating from Cairo, IDF ground, air and naval forces hit 70 Hamas targets, killing an estimated 35 terrorists within the past 24 hours. Eleven IDF personnel were wounded. On Thursday morning, Hamas launched another 15 rockets into Israel. The ceasefire depends essentially on what Israel's Amos Gilad hears from Egypt's General Omar Suleiman about the plan to stop the arms smuggling. It is the view of Egypt's foreign minister Abu-Reit that the moment of truth is near.

An Israeli official cautions: "The devil may be in the fine print of the arrangement to prevent more Hamas arms smuggling from Egyptian controlled Sinai into Gaza"

After Gilad returns to Jerusalem, Israel's political leadership will decide on its response or whether to seek further clarification. General (res.) Giora Eiland, the former head of Israel's National Security Council has said there will be no doubt that the extent of Israel's blows to Hamas will deter the terror regime from again rocketing Israel in the foreseeable future. As for the arms smuggling, Eiland suggests that in addition for high-tech solutions and international monitors, there is an area five kilometers or so south of the Egyptian-Gaza border that is suitable for establishing a no-go corridor to be patrolled by Egyptian security personnel. This could ' hermetically seal off Gaza from arms smuggling by land. A senior Israeli foreign ministry official has also been dispatched to Washington to discuss an American role in preventing future Iranian missile supplies to Hamas in Gaza.

IDF soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip

The overall Israeli assessment is that Egypt now realizes it was playing with fire by turning a blind eye to the Hamas arms smuggling from its territory. The Mubarak regime, threatened by the Muslim brothers inside Egypt, fully understands that Hamas gains would energize the Muslim Brothers, another Islamist movement that wishes to establish an Iranian style dictatorship inside Egypt. Moreover, Hamas has been aided with arms, money and training by Iran, the archrival of Egypt in the Middle East. In light of these considerations and the international readiness to play a role in blocking the Hamas arms smuggling, the general Israeli approach at this stage is one of optimism. Then again, from the Israeli perspective, it is preferable to reach a ceasefire before complicating the first day in office of US President Elect Barack Obama.

The overall Israeli assessment is that Egypt now realizes it was playing with fire by turning a blind eye to the Hamas arms smuggling from its territory

Hamas is also thought to be eager for the ceasefire as soon as possible, in light of the daily damage being inflicted by the IDF. Reports from the combat zones say Hamas fighters are avoiding most contact with advancing Israeli troops and that Hamas field commanders have also joined their political colleagues hiding out in underground bunkers. The Hamas rocket teams have been finding it more and more difficult to launch their rockets without being almost immediately picked off by Israeli aircraft or ground forces. There have also been cases of Palestinian civilians trying to bar the terrorists from taking up positions in and around their homes. In other incidents, Hamas has fired warning shots at Palestinian civilians trying to flee from being used as protective shields.

Trucks with humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip

In another twist, Hamas has tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate suicide bombers dressed in IDF uniforms among advancing IDF troops. On the other hand, Israel is continuing its unilateral three hour ceasefire every day in order to allow Palestinian civilians to stock up on food supplies and medicines. However, Hamas often exploits this interregnum to open fire. Since the beginning of the 'Cast Lead' operation 19 days ago, some 1,000 trucks with humanitarian aid have arrived in Gaza from Israel. But in some cases, Hamas often confiscated this food and medicine and even sold it to civilians for profit. This is a picture of the battle scene where the IDF has used massive fire power to cope with booby trapped buildings including schools where children actually studied next to huge quantities of explosives set to be detonated. Today even Syrian President Bashar Assad, who hosts Hamas leader Haled Mashal in Damascus, has spoken publicly about the Hamas readiness for a cease-fire.

For Israelis, this has been a war about protecting its children, who have been deliberately rocketed for years by Hamas while Israel tried everything in its power to for years not to harm Palestinian children or civilians

At this point, the only one still egging on Hamas is Iran and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon. But not to forget Al Qaeda's Osama Bin Laden who has called for world wide jihad against Israel. When the dust settles and the extent of the devastation is revealed, Hamas will be hard pressed to hold any victory parade claiming that it held off the IDF and fought the Jews to a standstill. But in Israel there is the awareness that Israel will also face the challenge of defending its operation to end the terrorizing of Israeli civilians for the past eight years. There is by the way overwhelming support, a Haaretz poll indicates that 78% of Israelis believe there was no choice and that every other country would have been done the same in light of such provocation. For Israelis, this has been a war about protecting its children, who have been deliberately rocketed for years by Hamas while Israel tried everything in its power to for years not to harm Palestinian children or civilians.

David Essing

Back To The Top