(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:

Israel's Cease-Fire & Prisoner Dilemmas

MK Danny Yatom: 'Gaza Cease-fire Hinges On Egypt's Blocking Hamas Arms Smuggling'

Kadima MK Shai Hermesh: 'Israeli Residents Near Gaza Have little Faith In Hamas Honoring Cease-fire'

Natan Sharansky: 'Don't Exchange Live Terrorists For IDF Bodies'

Eldad Regev, Udi Goldwasser, Gilad Shalid

The 'Tahdia' lull has gone into force between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. One Israeli dilemma has now been resolved for better or worse. A second dilemma may now reach a climax in possible prisoner exchanges to retrieve three Israeli soldiers. Hezbollah has given no sign of life from two of them Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

The so-called 'Tahdia' calm between Israel and the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip is now in force - but for how long no one can say.

All quiet on the Gaza-Israeli front. The Qassam rocketing and mortar barrages from Gaza have now ceased as have the IDF's counter terror strikes. For more than seven years, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have terrorized Israeli civilians in the Western Negev by firing more than 8,000 rockets and mortars into their towns and villages. The 1,500,000 Palestinians in Gaza, often used as human shields by the terrorists, have also been cut off and isolated by Israel.

The public debate rages in Israel over the government's decision to accept the Egyptian cease-fire proposal that did not include the release of abducted IDF soldier Corp. Gilad Shalit. His father Noam Shalit has lambasted Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak charging they have broken their promise to free the soldier as part of the deal. In his words: 'This is not a government but a banana republic'. Government officials replied it would now be easier to secure the release of the soldier. Why has Israel refrained from using its massive power by ordering the IDF to move back into Gaza in order to suppress the incessant terrorizing of Israeli civilians?

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has no illusions that Hamas will keep the cease-fire for very long. Hamas spokesman have declared publicly that they have not given up their 'armed struggle' to destroy the Jewish state and they will use the Tahdia to build their strength for the next round. Meretz Knesset Member Yossi Beilin of the left wing Meretz party pointed out that Israel also needed a breather from the rocket attacks and to develop its Iron Dome missile defense system.

Yossi Beilin

Interview Yossi Beilin

Labor MK Danni Yatom is a Maj. Gen. (IDF res.) and sees the cease-fire hinging on Egypt's readiness to block the arms smuggling. Hamas and the other terror groups have made clear they will continue to smuggle arms and explosives into Gaza from Egyptian controlled Sinai. Yatom said the Mubarak regime now has a vested interest in blocking the underground tunnels:

Dani Yatom

Interview Danni Yatom

But even a stolid Olmert supporter such as Kadima MK Zachi Hanegbi, who chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, opposes the controversial cease-fire:

Tzahi Hanegbi

Interview Zachi Hanegbi

Let's hear now from a Knesset Member Shai Hermesh who has lived under the rain of rockets from Gaza but still believed it was a mistake to accept the conditions of the current cease- fire. In his view, most Israeli civilians in the Western Negev also feel the 'cease- fire will blow up in Israel's face' and that the IDF could have hit Hamas harder without reoccupying Gaza.

Shai Hermesh

Interview Shai Hermesh

The Likud opposition party has condemned the government for capitulating to Hamas. Party leader Bibi Netanyahu charges that the political infighting between Olmert, Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has paralyzed rational decision-making at the highest level and the current government is incapable of leading the country.

Meanwhile, Labor is set to vote for the first reading of the Likud's early election bill on June 25th as a prod to force the ruling Kadima party to conduct leadership primaries. However, despite the scandals swirling around him, Olmert has declared he will not bow out and intends on running again.

A prisoner exchange to get back the two IDF soldiers whose abduction triggered the Second Lebanon War nearly two years ago is also in the headlines. However, there are mounting signs that Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev may not be alive. Should Israel return Hezbollah killers who murdered Israeli children in order to retrieve the bodies of two IDF soldiers? Interviewed on Channel 1 television, Prisoner of Zion, Natan Sharansky, who spent years in a Soviet prison took a clear-cut stand:

Natan Sharansky

Interview Natan Sharansky

Footnote 1: Professor Yehezkel Dror, a member of the Winnograd Enquiry into the Second Lebanon War has done it again. First, he rallied to the PM's side by saying that Olmert may have flopped in his conduct of the war, but his search for peace should be taken into account. Now the political science expert has come to the conclusion that Olmert is 'unsuitable' for prime minister because he is incapable of coping with a strategic crisis and also took money in envelopes from American businessman Morris Talansky.

President Shimon Peres

Footnote 2: Just before the current cease-fire, President Shimon Peres defended Israel from the condemnation of Arab League secretary Amr Musa, a former Egyptian foreign minister. At a conference in Jordan Musa argued that Israel was not serious about conducting peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Peres then took the podium to tell Musa: 'I respect you Amr - but I refute what you just said. Israel carried out a difficult process of evacuating many communities in Gaza and what did it get? Why does Hamas launch all those rockets at Israel? Israel wants peace and is willing to do a lot to get it. This is what happened with Egypt and Jordan and I call upon you, members of the Arab League - come to Israel and speak frankly in the Knesset '.

David Essing

Back To The Top