An analysis of what
Israel and Hamas did, or did not do.
Feb 4/09. Several senior
Israeli officers provided TIME with a detailed account of the
military campaign. "There was never a single incident in which a unit of
Hamas confronted our soldiers," one Israel Defense Forces official says.
"And we kept waiting for them to use sophisticated anti-tank and
anti-aircraft missiles against us, but they never did."
By the end of the
conflict, Hamas was still firing rockets, but far fewer. Its rocketeers
made easy targets. Within less than a minute after Hamas fired a rocket,
the Israelis were able pinpoint and destroy the launch site. As one
senior Israeli officer says, "Everyone is digesting the lessons of the
Gaza war - us and them." And neither side expects last month's showdown
in Gaza to be the last.
A growing number of observers
have pointed out that Hamas's Iranian-sponsored jihadist regime in Gaza
is proof that Israel has no way to ensure that land it transfers to the
PLO-Fatah will remain under PLO-Fatah control.
This reassessment has also
provoked a discussion of the PLO-Fatah's own failures since it formed
the Palestinian Authority in 1994. Despite the billions of dollars it
received from Israel and the West, its Western trained armed forces
numbering more than 75,000 and the bottomless reserve of international
political support it enjoys, the PLO-Fatah regime did not build a state,
but a kleptocratic thugocracy where the rule of law was replaced by the
rule of the jackboot. Instead of teaching its people to embrace peace,
freedom and democracy, the PLO-Fatah-led PA indoctrinated them to wage
jihad against Israel in a never-ending war.
Bolton, Pipes and Inbar not only
agree that the two-state paradigm has failed, they also agree on what
must be done now to "solve" the Palestinian conflict. In their view the
failed "two-state solution" should be replaced with what Bolton refers
to as the "three-state solution." All three analysts begin their
analyses with the assertion that Israel is uninterested in controlling
Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Since the Palestinians have shown they cannot
be trusted with sovereignty, the three argue that the best thing to do
is to return the situation to what it was from 1949 to 1967: Egypt
should reassert its control over Gaza and Jordan should reassert its
control over Judea and Samaria.
THE SALIENT QUESTION is now that
it is clear that the two-state solution has failed, what is the best
option for managing the conflict? Not only would Israel be unable to
trust that its security situation would improve if the areas were to
revert to Jordanian and Egyptian control, Israel could trust that its
security situation would rapidly deteriorate as the prospect of regional
war increased. With a retrocession of Gaza, Judea and Samaria to
Egyptian and Jordanian rule, Israel would find itself situated within
indefensible borders, and facing the likely prospect that the Egyptian
and Jordanian regimes would be destabilized.
Today Israel has the ability to
enter Gaza without concern that doing so would provoke war with Egypt.
It has minimized the terror threat from Judea and Samaria by controlling
the areas with the massive help of the strong Israeli civilian presence
in the areas which ensures control over the roads and the heights. IDF
forces can operate freely within the areas without risking war with
Jordan. The IDF controls the long border with Jordan and can prevent
terrorist infiltration from the east.
The best way to move forward is
to reject the calls for a solution and concentrate instead on
Feb 1-2/09. In the
last few days, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas met with Nicolas
Sarkozy as part of his effort to drum up diplomatic support for a unity
government of Palestinian factions.
leader also wants international backing for his demands that he be given
a role in Gaza reconstruction, and that his troops be deployed at the
Gaza border crossings with Israel and Egypt.
Abbas called for a "solution
with Hamas in the framework of a government of
national unity", but in Cairo, Abbas
told reporters he would not hold reconciliation talks with Hamas as long
as it rejects his authority.
The two sides have
been divided since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007. Abbas' Fatah rules the
West Bank. Hamas rules Gaza, and it no longer recognises Abbas as the
Palestinian President. But rather, it is calling for an alternative
Palestinian organisation with Hamas at the head.
Fatah and Hamas
were joined in a power-sharing government in the months before the Gaza
coup in which hundreds of Fatah military men were slaughtered. So what
makes Abbas think that a unity government is possible, and would bring
harmony and a solution to Palestinian problems now?
Even if a “Unity
government” was formed, as the Europeans are calling for, what progress
could there be when half the unity government recognises Israel, and the
other half refuses to recognise, and calls for the destruction of
Hamas, anyhow, is
cool to the idea of unity with Fatah, and to Fatah’s involvement in
reconstruction work in Gaza. It has its own agenda.
Caroline Glick comments:
Hamas's threat to PLO-Fatah was
and remains qualitatively different from the threat it poses to Israel.
PLO-Fatah never had a problem with Hamas attacks against Israel, or with
its annihilationist ideology as regards Israel.
This ideology is shared by PLO-Fatah
and is widely popular among the Palestinians. Consequently not only did
the PLO-Fatah never prevent Hamas from attacking Israel, it collaborated
with Hamas in attacking Israel and did so while disseminating Hamas's
genocidal ideology throughout the PA. PLO-Fatah did crack down on Hamas
when it felt that Hamas was threatening its grip on power, but in all
other respects, it supported Hamas - and continues to do so.
HAMAS POLICE STEAL UNRWA
Feb 4/09.Hamas police raided an
UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) warehouse in Gaza Tuesday
evening, stealing thousands of blankets and hundreds of food parcels
from local staff at gunpoint.
"It's a very serious incident,"
Jerusalem-based UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Israel National News.
"We condemn it in the strongest terms and we demand that the items be
Hamas police grabbed 3,500
blankets and 407 food parcels, according to Gunness, who said his staff
was present at the time of the heist. "We were there, and we tried to
stop them, but they were armed and we were not," he said. – Artuz Sheva
Egyptian president slams
Hamas for objecting to efforts to prolong Gaza ceasefire
Feb 4/09. Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak condemned Hamas and Iran in a speech Wednesday,
and hinted that Hamas was responsible for the fighting in Gaza.
Why did the
resistance factions object to our attempts to prolong the ceasefire? And
why did they not heed our warnings that their positions constitute an
open invitation for an Israeli assault? Was this planned and deliberate?
For whose benefit?" Mubarak said.
Hinting at Hamas
Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal, Mubarak said, "For how long will Arab
blood be shed, only to listen to those who admit their mistakes later,
because they didn't calculate Israel's response correctly; and to those
who wave resistance slogans over the corpses of casualties, the ruins,
and the destruction?"
"The resistance does
not entail slogans that disparage the lives of casualties and that deal
in the blood of the injured or the suffering of innocent civilians," he
onslaught against Mashaal, the Egyptian president said, "I have stressed
this before and I will say it again, the resistance must face the
cost-benefit test. It must be responsible towards the nations that judge
it on the merits of the benefits it has brought for their problems
alongside the casualties, the pain, and the destruction it has caused."
TURKEY PM STORMS OFF DAVOS
STAGE OVER PERES REMARKS ON GAZA
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday stormed off the
stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, red-faced after verbally
sparring with President Shimon Peres over the recent fighting in Gaza.
angry after being cut off by a panel moderator after listening to an
impassioned monologue by Peres defending Israel's recent 22-day
offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Erdogan told Peres: "You are
finger-pointing Peres told Erdogan at Thursday's panel that he would
have done the same if rockets had been hitting Istanbul.
I have know
Shimon Peres for many years and I also know Erdogan. I have never seen
Shimon Peres so passionate as he was today. I think he felt Israel was
being attacked by so many in the international community. He felt
isolated," said former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.
Hamas members hand
out aid to homeless Gazans, along with victory speech, claiming 'Israeli
military machine defeated'. They promise to rebuild homes, but some
residents are skeptical.
The power struggle
between Hamas and Fatah on reconstruction in the Strip continues.
Despite Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's statements that all
contributions and aid was welcome, Hamas suspect the international
community's goal is to get Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' foot
back in Gaza in this manner.
Mideast Envoy George Mitchell met with Israel’s Social Affairs Minister,
Isaac Herzog, who is responsible for the delivery of humanitarian aid to
the Gaza Strip. Herzog told
Mitchell that some 200 aid trucks enter Gaza every day
international community's test is to refrain from demanding the opening
of the crossings, which would aid Hamas," Herzog said, "The opening of
the crossings should be done only in exchange for (kidnapped soldier)
Gilad Shalit. In the
humanitarian aspect the Palestinian consumption is reaches its maximum
to Herzog the need to continue isolating Hamas.
ABBAS TAKES HOSTILE LINE:
“WE WILL PROVE ISRAELI WAR CRIMES”
The hostility of
Israel’s “peace partner” – Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party –again
became evident and open in Abbas’ diatribe on 27th Jan.
Although Hamas waged a coup against Fatah in Gaza in 2007, killing
hundreds of Fatah military; and although in the recent conflict, Hamas
deliberately incapacitated dozens of Fatah’s members by shooting them in
the knees; and although the Gaza operation is a major step towards
restoring control of Gaza to Fatah and Abbas; and although Israel has
released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners as a good-will gesture to
shore up Abbas’ regime, and has supplied weapons to that regime; and
although he survives because of Israeli protection, Abbas still despises
Israel and wants to form a unity government with Hamas.
We are yet to hear
Mahmoud Abbas demand that Hamas recognise and make peace with Israel, so
that Palestinian statehood and prosperity can become a reality.
extracts from a ynet/worthy report:
President Abbas vows to tell US envoy George Mitchell that Israel is not
serious about peace, says he will back efforts to prosecute Israel for
war crimes 'that would make your skin crawl.’
Abbas vowed on 27th
to take a tough stance in talks with Israel and said he would tell a US
envoy that Israel's Gaza offensive proved it was not intent on
Abbas also said he
would back international efforts to prosecute Israel for war crimes. "We
will do all we can to prove Israel committed crimes that would make your
skin crawl," Abbas said, referring to the Geneva Conventions. "We want
the world to give us justice for once.
"Israel does not
want peace, otherwise it would not have done this. We need to understand
this and tell it to those coming from Europe and America. Israel wants
to waste time to strengthen facts on the ground with settlements and the
Israel's onslaught, accusing its rivals in the Arab world (including
Fatah) of being "collaborators" who bet on Israel destroying the
group. Hamas accuses the US-backed Abbas and his Arab allies of getting
nothing in peace talks with Israel.
So Abbas steps up
"We want a state in the 1967 borders, a fair solution to the refugee
issue, removal of settlements. There will be no going beyond these
points or bargaining," said Abbas, on the defensive in the Arab world
before Hamas' rhetoric of "resistance."
Abbas also said
Palestinians are looking to Obama for progress: "He (Obama) has said
good things. We are waiting to see if there is seriousness during this
year about the peace process."
Jan 27/09. An Israeli soldier
has been killed in an attack on their patrol near the Kissufim Junction
on the Gaza-Israel "border." An Israeli officer was badly wounded in the
explosion and two other soldiers were lightly injured in the attack.
The attack was carried out by an explosive
device was detonated next to the patrol.
The Israeli death
is the first since Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Israel declared
ceasefires on January 18.
responded by crossing into Gaza looking for the militants who carried
out the attack, as helicopters hovered overhead firing machine guns. One
Palestinian has been killed, Gaza medics said.
Israel also closed
the border crossings into Gaza because of the attack, stopping the flow
of aid supplies to Gaza's 1.5 million residents.
On the same day,
the IDF had received a green light to respond harshly to the bomb
attack. On Tuesday night, IAF aircraft struck three arms smuggling
tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor.
said their response would be in line with Israel's new policy to respond
aggressively to any attack following the Gaza.
A Hamas leader, Mushir al-Masri,
blamed Israel. "The Zionists are responsible for any aggression," he
said. In any case, he continued, Hamas "had not agreed" to a full
cease-fire but only to a lull in fighting.
ISRAELI RESTRAINT IN GAZA IS OVER
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel will no longer show restraint
against Palestinian attacks from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
"Israel is going to
act according to a new equation. We are not going to show restraint
anymore. We need to change the rules of the
game until they learn that the rules have changed and the
equation has changed," she said.
Her remarks came
after an Israeli soldier was killed and three others were wounded in an
attack near the Gaza border.
Livni said that
Israel needed to negotiate with the Fatah-run Palestinian leadership in
the West Bank towards a two-state solution, while continuing to fight
against Hamas in Gaza. "For me an agreement with Hamas is not an
option," she concluded.
Likud chair Binyamin
Netanyahu also responding to the fatal attack, saying, "Sooner or later
we will need to finish the job in Gaza, and that we will do." - Arutz
Ha'aretz reports that the captain of a ship that the US Navy
recently detained has said his vessel is now en route to Syria. The boat
was initially believed to be carrying arms destined for Hamas, though
sources say the weapons will likely be delivered to Hezb’ullah.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
SHOWDOWN IN GAZA UPDATES
- 27 January 09
HAMAS’ FINAL GOAL
23/09. Speaking outside the bombed parliament building in Gaza City,
Hamas official Ismail Radwan proclaimed that his movement would go on to
achieve much grander victories than the supposed one in the decimated
Gaza Strip:“Controlling Gaza is not our final goal. The liberation of
all Palestine, from the river to the sea, will, Allah allowing, be
achieved.”Of course, Hamas could not possibly annihilate a powerful
modern country like Israel without the substantial help of such allies
as Iran, Syria and Hizb’ullah, but in this statement, the militant
group’s rejection of Israel’s very existence was stated quite clearly
once again for all the world to hear!
HAMAS LEADERS STILL IN
Jan 23/09. Hamas leaders Ismail
Haniyeh and Mahmoud A-Zahar are still in hiding, a senior Egyptian
official told Al-Hayyat on Friday. The two fear Israel still seesthem as a target despite the conclusion of the Cast Lead operation
in Gaza, he explained.
Haniyeh, A-Zahar and others went
into hiding during the operation as the IDF targeted Hamas leaders and
bombed hundreds of the terror group's buildings, weapons caches and
tunnels. Among those killed were senior Hamas heads, Nizar Rayyan and
HAMAS: OBAMA ON THE SAME
Jan 23/09. President Barack
Obama addressed both Israel’s Hamas’ demands, saying his administration
supported implementation of a "credible" system for stopping smuggling
and calling for Gaza's borders to be opened for aid shipments, with
"appropriate monitoring." He said Hamas must stop attacking Israel.
Hamas criticized Obama's
comments, saying his approach will bring the U.S. failure in the region.
"Obama is still on the same path as previous leaders and also will make
the same mistakes as Bush that ignited the region instead of bringing
stability," Osama Hamdan, the Hamas spokesman in Beirut, Lebanon, told
CRITICISMS OF ISRAEL
By Professor Bradley
Ruffle -- Beer Sheva,
the war between Israel and Hamas, the battle for the hearts and minds of
the world ought to be a slam-dunk victory for Israel. A free,
multicultural, liberal society is pitted against a radical Islamic
terrorist group bent on the extermination of all those who oppose their
jihadist vision. And yet, the world condemns the modern liberal
democracy of Israel and embraces the terrorists' intolerance and death
culture, much like it did when Israel fought the Hezbollah terrorist
group in 2006.
So, why do the
world's sympathies lie overwhelmingly with the Palestinians?
Jan 26/09. The Hamas terrorist
organization has been warned by Egypt to accept a ceasefire proposal
from Israel's current government before the sands of time run out on
Israel Elections day,
According to a report in the
Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, Egyptian officials
have warned Hamas it is likely that the Likud, headed by MK Binyamin
Netanyahu, will lead the next government, and such a government would be
unlikely to offer concessions as far-reaching as those currently on the
table, which Egypt considers Hamas's "last opportunity for a good deal."
An Israeli proposal was presented
by Defense Ministry director of diplomatic security Amos Gilad. It
offers a, a complete opening of the
crossings into Gaza, and the release of 1,050 Palestinian Authority
terrorists in exchange for a 10-year ceasefire
and the freedom of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
But Hamas flatly rejected Speaking
from Gaza, spokesman Ismail Radwan told reporters that such a long truce
would "kill the resistance, which is the Palestinian people's legitimate
right as long as the occupation continues to exist." - Arutz Sheva
Earlier there was an Israeli proposal
for an 18-month truce with a partial opening of the border. Hamas has
offered Israel a one-year truce in Gaza.
Israelis believe a one-year truce would
be used in the same way as the last 6-month truce – an uninterrupted
time to build up armaments.
EU CALLS FOR PALESTINIAN UNITY GOVERNMENT
Jan 26/09. The European Union
has called for the divided Palestinian leadership to unite to support
the opening of border crossings to allow humanitarian aid and other
goods into the Gaza Strip.
"We believe that Palestinian
reconciliation behind president Mahmud Abbas is fundamental to
progress," Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg told reporters
after the meeting. Prague currently holds the EU's six-month rotating
Foreign ministers from the
27-state bloc held discussions with Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian
Authority and Turkey.
EU member states have said they
will aid efforts to halt arms trafficking via Egypt by relaunching and
strengthening its monitoring presence at the Rafah border crossing,
while France, Germany and the UK have offered to send naval patrols to
guard against weapons shipments.
"The reunification of the
Palestinian people with a single voice to speak to them, to speak for
the West Bank and for Gaza is absolutely essential," UK foreign
secretary David Miliband said after the meeting.
Governance of the two occupied
Palestinian territories has been split between Islamist Hamas and its
secular rival Fatah since June 2007.
The Fatah-controlled Palestinian
National Authority welcomed what it sees as EU endorsement of its
Israel is permitting the
delivery of some food and medicine, but rejects a full opening of the
border at the moment. Around 125 trucks are allowed into the territory
per day, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
The International Crisis Group
also said ending the blockade was key to moving forward. "Any
continuation of the blockade would constitute a breach of international
law," said Alain Deletroz of the ICG at a press conference. "Europeans
should be leading. Obama hasn't sent any strong message yet, which
leaves Europe to take the lead - if it wants it."
EGYPT EVACUATES RAFAH AREA, FEARING IAF STRIKE ON GAZA
Egyptian authorities have evacuated the Rafah border crossing into the
Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, acting on reports of a
possible Israeli air strike on the Palestinian side of the crossing,
Egyptian security sources said.
Security sources and witnesses
speaking on condition of anonymity said authorities had carried out a
sudden and rapid evacuation of the crossing area, removing staff and
ambulances from the vicinity of the gates that control access to the
Flights by Israel Air Force
F-16s over Gaza on Sunday sparked fears in the coastal territory that a
new Israeli military offensive was underway.
A number of banks, government
offices and schools in Gaza were closed as the warplanes flew through
the Hamas-ruled Strip's skies. Shops were also closed in the center of
Gaza City, and Gaza residents left the streets for the safety of their
BLOOD FEUD BUILDING
BETWEEN HAMAS & FATAH:
“THERE WILL BE
Jan 26/09. The Palestinian
Authority sees the Hamas regime facing an uprising in the Gaza Strip.
Officials said PA intelligence has determined that the thousands of
Palestinians whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the Gaza Strip
would demand immediate compensation from the Hamas regime. They said
unfulfilled demands could quickly turn into a revolt against Hamas.
"Right now, the people are in
shock, but wait 10 days and you will see demands from Hamas for money
for their destroyed homes and property," a PA intelligence official
said. The PA intelligence assessment asserted that within weeks Fatah-aligned
and other clans would launch attacks on Hamas officials. The assessment
said Hamas has been preparing for a backlash.
"There will be violence; this is
clear," another intelligence official said
A likely source of the anti-Hamas
unrest was expected to stem from Fatah-aligned clans, such as Dughmoush
and Masri, officials said. In 2007 and 2008, Dughmoush fought Hamas
squads throughout Gaza City.
The officials said the Hamas
regime has already launched a massive crackdown on the Fatah opposition
in the Gaza Strip. They said Fatah was accused of collaborating with
Israel, particularly in tracking leading members of Hamas's military.
They included Hamas Interior Minister Said Siyam, killed on Jan. 17.
So far, about 300 Fatah members
were said to have been arrested in the Gaza Strip since Jan. 17.
Officials said many of them were being tortured and killed in schools,
hospitals and mosques.
CLAIM: IRAN ELITE FORCES KILLED IN GAZA WAR
Jan 21/09. TEL AVIV — Israel's
military killed several Iranian military advisers deployed in the Gaza
Strip, sources said
The Israeli sources said the
military killed an unspecified number of advisers from Iran's Islamic
Revolutionary Guards Corps during the 22-day war with Hamas, which ended
on Jan. 18. They said the IRGC officers helped the Hamas regime and
Islamic Jihad fire BM-21 Grad rockets from urban areas.
"We believe there were dozens of
IRGC personnel in the Gaza Strip during the war," an Israeli source
said. "Some were killed; others went into hiding, and others escaped."
Jan 21/09. After Israeli troops
pulled out of Gaza, Hamas gunmen were waving flags on the top of massive
ruins, claiming victory over Israel, and broadcast figures that were
detached from any reality on the ground.
At a Hamas news conference held on
Jan 19, a spokesman for the Al-Kassam Brigades "conservatively
estimated" that the terror group killed up to 80 Israeli soldiers while
it lost only 48 of its own fighters.
The spokesman, known as Abu Obeida,
further claimed that Hamas destroyed or incapacitated 47 IDF tanks and
bulldozers, hit four helicopters and shot down one unmanned drone plane.
He said that the terrorists took several soldiers captive during
Israel's ground offensive, but the Israeli response was to call in air
strikes that "always deliberately targeted" the Hamas abductors along
with their hostages.
Iran and Hizb’ullah joined Hamas
in painting an outrageous picture of victory.
An Iran-based website serving the
Lebanese Hizb’ullah terrorist organization was more outrageous than
Hamas in its claims. Moqavemat told its readers that 225 Israelis
were killed - 203 soldiers and 22 civilians, and several thousand
Israelis were injured during the war. – source:
in Hamas-controlled Gaza say at least 1,300 Palestinians have been
killed and 5,100 wounded since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead
on 27 December. (These figures are refuted by a doctor in Gaza – see
died in the three weeks. Three were civilians; five soldiers were lost
enemy fire, while five others died from (accidental) “friendly fire.”
soldiers were wounded, the Israeli army says. Many Israelis civilians
were injured from rocket attacks, and thousands were traumatised.
HAMAS INFLATES DEATH TOLL
newspaper Corriere della Serra (Jan 22/09) quoted a doctor at
Shifa Hospital in Gaza City saying that, despite Hamas and UN claims,
most of those killed in Gaza were young men who were members of terror
"The number of
deaths was between 500 and 600...most were young men between 17 and 23
who were recruited into the ranks of Hamas, which sent them to be
slaughtered," he said.
Cremonesi confirmed that only 600 people were killed, and not 1,300 as
was widely reported, based on hospital visits and discussions with
families of the victims.
"It was strange that
the non-governmental organizations, including Western ones, repeated the
number without checking, but the truth will come to light in the end,"
said the doctor. It's like what happened in Jenin in 2002," he said. "At
the beginning they spoke of 1,500 dead; afterwards it was clear there
were only 54 dead, at least 45 of them fighters."
OBAMA FIRST CALLS MAHMOUD
Jan 22/09. President Obama placed
the Middle East at the forefront of his first hours in office. In a
flurry of telephone calls from the Oval Office, he vowed to engage
immediately in pursuit of a permanent Arab-Israeli settlement.
Obama told Palestinian leader
Mahmoud Abbas that their conversation was his first with a foreign
statesman since taking office. Obama also spoke to President Mubarak of
Egypt, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and King Abdullah of
HOW THE JEWS CAN WIN
WHEN WE CAN'T WIN
Jan 09. Had the
graphic artist at TIME magazine had as his goal to upset the Jews
by his cover for the January 19 issue, he couldn't have done a better
job. A blue star of David hiding behind a cinderblock wall topped with
barbed wire is so evocative of the Holocaust and the old canard
(false news report) that the Palestinians are the "victims of the
victims" that it has stirred up the Jewish world and elicited
accusations that TIME is (and has always been) anti-Semitic.
bold title across the cover, "Why Israel Can't Win"
has further riled a Jewish world intent on doing exactly that in Gaza.
But the cover article by Tim McGirk, TIME's Jerusalem bureau
chief, has more truth in it than those of us who love Israel would care
Here is where
TIME magazine is wrong. They fail to take into account what I call
"the God factor." Jewish history has always been a long shot. The most
dramatic proof of that is that I, a Jew, am sitting here in my home in
Jerusalem, 2,595 years after my ancestors were banished from here by the
Babylonian Empire, 1,939 years after my ancestors were again banished
from here by the mighty Roman Empire, after 1,930 years of my ancestors
wandering among hostile and often murderous European hosts, 60 years
after five well-armed, well-trained Arab armies attacked the nascent
Jewish state, and 41 years after Nassar, backed by superior Soviet
weaponry, vowed to "drive the Jews into the sea."
The eternal survival
of the Jewish people, which was promised by God through the Biblical
prophets, is as unlikely as a cluster of grapes, thrown into an erupting
volcano then being swept up into a tornado and pounded by a tsunami,
surviving intact -- and returning to its original vineyard.
Just think how TIME
magazine would have reported on some of the significant events of Jewish
Read the rest of the article>
A day after the last of their
country's soldiers pulled out of the Gaza, Israelis are increasingly
asking themselves just what they were fighting for.
The offensive enjoyed massive
popular support while under way, but with the guns silent, scathing
criticism is emerging from both the Left and the Right about the lack of
any clear achievement, other than a huge Palestinian death toll and the
damage to Israel’s international reputation.
“The soldiers succeeded, but the
politicians failed,” said Avigdor Lieberman of the nationalist Yisrael
Jan 22/09. The first rule of
pride is this: When they run you out of town, walk like you're leading
the parade. I'll give Israel this: When international pressure got to be
too much, Israel left Gaza as if it was Israel's bright idea, "a
In truth, Israel surrendered. It
is "surrender" if you leave with Hamas rockets still flying into Israel,
and with Gilad Shalit remaining in his private Auschwitz. Imagine how
Shalit was tortured these past three weeks. Imagine being his parents.
If this Gaza operation even resembled a success, Israel could have said,
OK Hamas, we'll stop devastating your neighborhoods and killing your
so-called civilians in exchange for two things: The rockets have to
stop, and Shalit comes home.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
SHOWDOWN IN GAZA
- 22 January 09
COMMENTARY: THE MEANING OF
THE GAZA WAR
The Gaza war rendered an
Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace agreement more difficult and more
distant. And it probably changed the incoming American president's order
of priorities in ways the government of Israel - both this one and the
next one - will have to adjust to quickly and flexibly.
The Israel-Arab related issues
that Barack Obama will face upon assuming the presidency now begin,
unexpectedly, with the ugly unfinished business of Gaza.
There is only a
temporary cease-fire in and around
Gaza, and the Gaza passages remain closed to all but humanitarian aid.
This war demonstrated that Hamas,
even if (hopefully) defanged, is here to stay. Obama, the new leader on
the block, is well situated to affect a new departure with regard to
engaging Hamas - just as he intends to engage Iran and Syria - and
opening the Gaza-Israel passages to commerce, thereby reversing a
foolish and counter-productive policy.
The Gaza post-war humanitarian
situation, too, will need Obama's attention. As matters currently stand,
the provision of western aid - intended not only to help Gazans rebuild
but to counter Iranian aid and influence - requires a PLO presence in
Gaza, which Hamas may or may not be persuaded to concur with. This issue
may dovetail with Egypt's hopes to bring Hamas back into unity
government talks with Abbas' PLO. If those talks succeed, they could
within the year produce new Palestinian elections that Hamas might win,
thereby putting paid to any near-term aspirations to negotiate a
two-state solution. Those who speak approvingly of "Palestinian unity"
should now beware of what they wish for.
Obama will quickly discover that
the war weakened Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). And
Israel's Feb. 10 elections are liable to produce a new Israeli
government less interested in removing settlements and negotiating a
final status agreement than its predecessor or, if interested, no more
Meanwhile, Syria beckons. The
prospects for a Syria-Israel peace process weathered this war well; the
only casualty may have been Turkish mediation, reflecting the vociferous
anti-Israel pose struck during the war by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip
Apropos (in regards to)
Turkey's performance during this war, Obama now confronts a Middle East
even more divided. Egypt, backed by Saudi Arabia and the PLO, cooperated
closely with Israel and reestablished its traditional claim to
courageous Arab leadership, while Israel reinforced its role as primary
regional military power. On the other hand, Qatar and Turkey seemingly
sided with the Iran-Syria-Hizballah-Hamas camp and Jordan sat on the
fence. Obama's Middle East strategy requires a large measure of regional
cooperation; in this regard, his job just became a little harder.
- by Yossi
Alpher – Jerusalem Post. Read full commentary>
Jan 21/09. The Islamist
Palestinian group Hamas said on Wednesday it had begun reasserting
control in the Gaza Strip and rounding up suspected collaborators with
Israel, drawing accusations from the rival Fatah group that its members
were being targeted.
"The internal security service
was instructed to track collaborators and hit them hard," said Ehab al-Ghsain,
spokesman of the Hamas Interior Ministry, without singling out Fatah
members by name.
"They arrested dozens of
collaborators who attempted to strike the resistance by giving
information to the occupation about the fighters," he said.
Jan 21/09. Smuggling into Gaza
from Egypt is underway again, only days
after the end
of the IDF operation against Hamas.
AP Television News
footage showed Palestinian smugglers filling a fuel truck with petrol
that came through a cross-border tunnel from Egypt. The footage also
shows workers busy clearing blocked tunnels and bulldozers carrying out
One of the stated
goals of the IDF offensive was to stop the smuggling through
of tunnels under the border. The goods coming through have included a
steady flow of rockets and other weapons.
Israel has said
eighty percent of the smuggling tunnels were destroyed in bombing raids
during the IDF's Operation
LEAGUE SPLIT OVER REBUILDING GAZA
KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Arab leaders
failed to agree Tuesday on a plan to rebuild the devastated Gaza Strip
and whether to back Egyptian peace efforts to end the crisis at a
meeting of the Arab League fraught with divisions.
The deep tensions
among rival Arab leaders could affect the fragile cease-fire between
Hamas and Israel that ended a three-week Israeli onslaught on the
Mediterranean strip. The military campaign to stop militant rocket fire
left around 1,300 Palestinians dead, according to Gaza health officials,
and material damage estimated at around $2 billion. Thirteen Israelis
were also killed.
The violence in
Gaza split Arab countries into two camps — one led by Syria and Qatar
supporting Hamas hard-liners who rule the territory, and another led by
Egypt and Saudi Arabia hoping to lure the Palestinian militant group
toward more moderation.
COMMENT. JERRY GOLDEN,
Jan 21/09. We are praying here
in Israel that the UN, EU and USA will not rebuild Hamas but will help
us build a peaceful society in Gaza that will realize that Hamas is
their enemy as well.
It has troubled me to see once
again that the US has stopped Israel from finishing off its enemy. I
saw it happen in 1982 when the US 6th fleet rescued Arafat
and his PLO terrorist in Lebanon and took them to Tunis to regroup and
fight another day. Again I watched as the IDF had to be pulled out of
Gaza before finishing the task before them in order not to offend the
It becomes more obvious that the
powers to be do not want the enemies of Israel to be destroyed; it is
known that these same powers prosper by waging wars around the world, as
the motto of the Illuminati is to bring order out of chaos.
US-EGYPTIAN RED SEA HUNT
IRANIAN SHIP CARRYING 60
TONS OF ARMS FOR HAMAS
Jan 20/09. US and Egyptian
warships were scouring the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea to waylay an Iranian
freighter carrying scores of heavy rockets for delivery to Hamas.
DEBKAfile's exclusive sources report they were acting on intelligence
that a ship loaded with an estimated 60 tons of arms to replenish Hamas'
depleted war stocks had set out from the Iranian Persian Gulf port of
Bandar Abbas on Jan. 17.
Our sources reveal that the
arms-smuggling vessel started its voyage as the Iran-Hedayat and changed
its name in mid sea to Famagustus registered to Panama. The captain was
ordered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to unload its cargo at a
smugglers cove on the southeastern coast of Sinai opposite the Gulf of
Suez, to be picked up by armed Bedouin gangs and moved to El Arish in
northern Sinai. From there the contraband rockets were to be slipped
gradually into the Gaza Strip.
The cargo consists of 50 Fajr
rockets whose range is 50-75 km, scores of heavy Grad rockets, new,
improved launchers whose angle of fire can be precisely adjusted, tons
of high-quality explosives, submachine guns, rifles and pistols and
armor-piercing missiles and shells (of types used successfully by
Hizb’ullah against Israeli tanks in 2006).
Jan 16/09. In a step toward
achieving “guarantees,” Israel won a U.S. commitment to help crack down
on weapons smuggling into Egypt and from there, to Gaza.
The "memorandum of
understanding" signed in Washington by Condoleezza Rice and Tzipi Livni
calls for expanded intelligence cooperation between the US and Israel,
as well as other US allies in the Middle East and Europe to prevent
Hamas from rearming should Israel agree to a truce. It aimed to boost
Egyptian efforts to broker a cease-fire to end fighting in Gaza.
Livni described the deal as "a
vital complement for a cessation of hostility" in the troubled region.
It was meant "to complement Egyptian actions and to end of the flow of
weapons to Gaza." Egypt's cooperation is essential if the smuggling is
to be stopped. But Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that
his country would not be bound by the agreement.
The US will provide military and
intelligence assets, including detection and surveillance equipment, as
well as logistical help and training to Israel, Egypt and other nations
in the region. The equipment and training would be used for monitoring
Gaza's land and sea borders. The document also calls for the U.S. to
expand work with its NATO partners in the effort, particularly in the
Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and eastern
Africa, according to a text.
It also commits Washington to
use "relevant components" of the U.S. military to assist Mideast
governments in preventing "weapons and explosives flows to Gaza that
originate in or transit their territories."
Although signed by the Bush
administration, the agreement is binding on the incoming administration
of President-elect Barack Obama and Rice and State Department spokesman
Sean McCormack said both Obama and Secretary of State-designate Hillary
Rodham Clinton had been briefed on the details.
DECLARES ITS OWN CEASE-FIRE
Jan 19/09. Only
hours after its leaders declared that they would continue to
Hamas announced on Sunday a one-week cease-fire
and issued an ultimatum to Israel to withdraw IDF troops from the Gaza
Strip within that time.
Daoud Shihab, a
spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, said that his group would
abide by the cease-fire "out of concern for the national interests of
the Palestinians and to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to
Like Hamas, Islamic
Jihad also declared "victory" and pointed out that Israel had failed to
destroy the "resistance" or topple the Hamas government.
ABBAS AS PA PRESIDENT
expressed outrage over the participation of Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas in the peace summit just held at the Egyptian
resort of Sharm.
Faraj al-Ghul, the
minister of justice in the Hamas government, said that Abbas was now the
president of the PA and therefore no longer represented the
Palestinians. Although his term in office expired earlier this month,
Abbas is remaining in office until new Palestinian elections are held..
The Hamas minister
said that no Palestinian government would honor an agreement signed by
Abbas after his mandate ended on January 9. He added that according to
the PA Basic Law, the government of Ismail Haniyeh was the only
legitimate body representing the Palestinians.
The minister also
called for Abbas to be brought before a Palestinian court, or any other
legal forum, on charges of committing "atrocities" against the
WORLD LEADERS DISCUSS GAZA
AT SHARM SUMMIT
Jan 18/09. French President
Nicolas Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday hosted
the leaders of Germany, Jordan, Italy, Turkey, Britain, Spain and the
United Nations at an emergency summit in Sharm el-Sheik. The talks
focused on the way ahead now that the fighting in Gaza has, for now,
The plan the European leaders
have developed with Egypt provides a $1.6 billion aid
package for the Gaza Strip's reconstruction.
The millions of tons of cement
and supplies will be shipped to Israeli ports and delivered through the
Gaza crossings over a period of years. Israel, they believe, will not be
able to refuse to reopen the crossings, thereby bringing its embargo of
the Gaza Strip to an end.
UK MAKES £20 MILLION
AID PROMISE TO GAZA
The British government has pledged to give a further £20m in
humanitarian aid to crisis-torn Gaza. The promise
came as international leaders, including Gordon Brown, met in Egypt
to discuss the conflict.
$2 BILLION ARAB LEAGUE
FUND FOR GAZA
Jan 19/07. The
Arab League, meeting in Kuwait, is expected to discuss a proposal for a
$2bn fund for reconstruction in Gaza. Saudi King Abdullah said his
country would donate $1bn.
HAMAS CLAIMS GREAT
Jan 19/09. Hamas
leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, said Israel had "failed to achieve its
goals". In a speech on a Hamas TV station, he said: "God has granted
us a great victory, not for one faction, or party, or area, but for our
Hamas said it
would hold fire for a week to give Israel time to withdraw its forces
from the Gaza Strip.
A spokesman for Hamas' military
wing, Abu Ubaida, said its rocket capabilities had not been affected by
the conflict. "We hereby stress that our rockets are being developed and
are piling up, and that the enemy will receive more rockets and God
willing, our rockets will hit more targets," he said in a news
conference broadcast live on Hamas' al-Aqsa TV. - BBC Jan 19
ROCKETS THREATEN GAZA
18 Jan 18/09. A volley of
rockets has been fired into southern Israel from Gaza, hours after a
unilateral Israeli ceasefire began.
At least four out
of seven rockets landed near the town of Sderot, with no reports of
injuries. Israel launched an air strike on Gaza in response.
Minister Ehud Olmert said the latest attacks "again proved that the
ceasefire is fragile and it has to be reassessed on a minute-by-minute
Heads of state
from across Europe are joining Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak,
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and UN chief Ban Ki-moon at
the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh for a summit aimed at shoring up
They will discuss
how to make the ceasefire durable and respected by Hamas, how to get aid
to Gaza and beginning the process of rebuilding there.
But the BBC's
Laura Trevelyan, who is at the resort, says with neither Israel or Hamas
attending, there are questions about how much can be achieved and
whether this will amount to more than a gigantic photo opportunity by
those who want to help resolve the conflict . - BBC
post-truce response formula for future Hamas attacks
Jan 19/09. The IDF
has created a "price list" based on which it will formulate its response
to future Hamas attacks following the
implementation of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, some of
the IDF units that participated in Operation Cast Lead pulled out of
Gaza ahead of the possibility that the ground offensive would be renewed
if Hamas did not cease its rocket attacks. Ehud Olmert said Sunday night
that the remaining troops would leave Gaza "quickly" if the truce held.
The IDF plans to
give Hamas a day or two to completely stop the
attacks and if they continue, the military has received
permission from the government to renew ground operations. Under the
cease-fire, the IDF will not assassinate senior Hamas leaders who come
out of hiding but will renew targeted killings if the rocket
attacks continue. "We will not return to our past policy of
restraint," a senior defense official explained. "For every attack there
will be a response."
Since the weekend,
the IDF has noted increased Hamas efforts to renew the smuggling of arms
along the Philadelphi Corridor. The IDF does not plan to take action and
believes that increased Egyptian and US involvement can succeed in
curbing the illegal flow. "There are already attempts by Hamas to
rebuild their capabilities," a security source said. "Hamas has not
changed and is still motivated to rearm so if it decides it can attack."
NETANYAHU: JOB LEFT
Jan 19/09. Likud head MK Binyamin
Netanyahu, who is considered likely to lead Israel after the coming
elections, said Sunday afternoon that “the IDF has dealt Hamas some very
hard blows on the head, but regrettably the job has not been finished.”
"Hamas still controls Gaza and it
will continue to smuggle new missiles in through the Philadelphi Route,”
he said. “I believe that in the face of Hamas's terror and its Iranian
backing, we must show no weakness and we must show a resolute, iron
fist, until the enemy is vanquished.” -
“HAMAS WILL RESUME ARMS
SMUGGLING WITHIN A FEW MONTHS”
Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told the Israeli cabinet that Hamas would
resume smuggling arms into Gaza within a few months, despite the recent
destruction of many tunnels. Diskin said that the Palestinian Islamist
group would soon rebuild the tunnels, which were destroyed during
Israel's 22-day offensive.
He said that
despite heavy criticism of Israel, Gaza residents are "fiercely
criticizing Hamas for the destruction it has brought to Gaza."
emphasized that there has been mass confusion among the Hamas leadership
in both Gaza and Damascus since Israel's announcement of a unilateral
stems from the fact that Hamas' stance, in the context of the UN
resolution and in the context of the Egyptian initiative, placed the
organization in a very problematic position in which it is likely to
emerge exposed from all sides."
that Hamas suffered a strategic surprise and that it "did not expect
that Israel would begin an operation in the lead up to elections, not of
such a scope and magnitude and not one in which Israel would send troops
deep into Gaza." He said the IDF's pressure on Gaza City put Hamas in a
very difficult situation.
ARABS IN DISARRAY
“ARAB WORLD FACING
Jan 19/09.Saudi Arabia’s Foreign
Minister Saud al-Feisal and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa warn
that the Arab world is on the verge of collapse.
Speaking at a joint press
conference they held in Kuwait, the two said that the Arab world faces
anarchy and an inner split, which they attribute to two factors: The
inter-Palestinian struggle, and the “Israeli aggression and occupation.”
Several recent incidents portray
the weakness of Arab unity.
Last Friday, a gathering of
representatives of more than a dozen Arab and Muslim nations was held in
Doha. Among the participants were Damascus-based Khaled Mashaal of Hamas
and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad – but the others were not
informed of the participation of these two until after they had already
arrived in Doha. Apparently, it was feared that the participation of
Mashaal and Ahmedinajad might keep others away.
In addition, a high-ranking French
diplomat has been quoted as saying that Syria was more interested in
weakening Egypt over the past three weeks than in helping solve the
crisis in Gaza. Syria and others accused Egypt of conspiring with Israel
in order to attack Gazan Arabs.
The diplomat further said that the
Syrian branch of Hamas is more extremist than the Gazan, and that this
is related to Syria’s influence over Mashaal.
MUBARAK LASHES BACK
Jan 19/09. The Jerusalem Center
for Public Affairs reports that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will
take part in an economic summit in Kuwait Monday, but refuses to
reconcile with those who attacked Egypt for its stance during the Gaza
war. Mubarak refused to take part in the Doha conference.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad,
for his part, has postponed his arrival in Kuwait, and it is possible
that he will not take part at all.
KUWAITIS AGAINST ABBAS
Jan 18/09. Twenty-one Kuwaiti
parliamentarians called for Palestinian Authority Fatah Chairman Mahmoud
Abbas not to be invited to the summit. They said that Abbas’s term as
president ended on Jan. 9, in accordance with the elections of four
years ago, and that a Hamas figure must be invited in his stead.
In response, Fatah legislator
Azzam Al-Ahmad said that the Kuwaitis were intervening in an “internal
Palestinian issue” and were “recruited by regional powers who wish to
weaken the Palestinian people and the Arab nation.”
Jan 18/09. 'Politicians caused offensive to fail by not allowing IDF to
seize control over Philadelphi route, Rafah crossing,' Yisrael Beiteinu
chairman says. Meretz: Israelis must consider other issues before
casting their ballots in upcoming elections.
operation in Gaza didn’t change a thing, and
Hamas is going to get exactly what
it needs – including the reopening of the crossings," he
said. "Gaza is still Hamastan and serves as an Iranian base
"The operation was
very impressive on a military level, but it wasn't translated into
political achievements. The politicians caused the offensive to fail;
they did not allow the IDF to seize control over the Philadelphi route
(Egypt-Gaza border) and the Rafah crossing; this only accentuates the
need for a leadership change (in Israel)."
continued to say that "it is clear that Hizb’ullah is also gearing up
for another round of fighting, and now we have shown it our inability to
defeat an organization just two feet away from us (Hamas)."
GAZA IS NOT MAJOR
CHALLENGE FOR OBAMA
Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly
gives this interesting comment:
Jan 20/09. Candidate Obama said
much about what he would do as president; now we will see what President
Obama actually does. The most important issue Obama will face will be
the economy, something he did not anticipate through most of his
campaign. The first hundred days of his presidency thus will revolve
around getting a stimulus package passed. But Obama also is now in the
great game of global competition — and in that game, presidents rarely
get to set the agenda.
The major challenge he faces is
not Gaza; the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is not one any US president
intervenes in unless he wants to experience pain. As we have explained,
that is an intractable conflict to which there is no real solution.
Certainly, Obama will fight
being drawn into mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his
first hundred days in office. He undoubtedly will send the obligatory
Middle East envoy, who will spend time with all the parties, make
suitable speeches and extract meaningless concessions from all sides.
This envoy will establish some
sort of process to which everyone will cynically commit, knowing it will
go nowhere. Such a mission is not involvement — it is the alternative to
involvement, and the reason presidents appoint Middle East envoys. Obama
can avoid the Gaza crisis, and he will do so.
The two crises that cannot be
avoided are Afghanistan and Russia.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
SHOWDOWN IN GAZA
- 18 January 09
HAMAS STILL HAS ABILITY TO
Jan 17/09. The
IDF's working premise is that Hamas still possesses short and long-range
rockets. Its ability to launch the weapons it has still exists, even if
it has suffered a blow.
The significant damage caused
to Hamas during the operation includes all of the organization's
infrastructures, including the smuggling of weapons, the transfer
system, the manufacturing and the launching cells. The entire process
suffered a heavy blow," said military sources, "but did not crash
Our activity is not aimed at
erasing abilities, but at making it clear to Hamas that using these
abilities is not worthwhile, and this message seems to have been
order to obtain a morale-related achievement, Hamas will try and exert
every effort during the last hours before the ceasefire, and we are
prepared for that."
HAMAS LAYS DOWN CONDITIONS
FOR GAZA TRUCE
Jan 16/09. Hamas is prepared to
accept a conditional cease-fire with Israel in the Gaza-Strip starting
on Saturday 17th, the al-Sharq al-Awset daily reported
today. According to the report, Hamas has set five conditions for the
1. The reciprocal truce would
begin on 17th and be followed by the immediate transfer of
humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
2. The Israel Defense Forces
must pull all of its troops out of the coastal territory within the
first week of the truce.
3. The flow of trade in and out
of the Gaza Strip must be renewed and monitored by observers from Egypt,
Europe, and Turkey.
4. The Rafah crossing must be
reopened and supervised by Palestinian Authority security forces and
international observers, until a Palestinian unity government has been
established and can take its place.
5. The truce would be instated
for one-year with an option for renewal.
Jan 16/09. Israeli and Western
sources say that Jerusalem has rebuffed some of the conditions set forth
by Hamas for an Egyptian-proposed truce, including how long it would
last and who would manage the border crossings. Jerusalem has expressed
its reservations regarding the Islamist group's terms, despite Cairo's
apparent promise to crack down on arms smuggling to Gaza - one of
Israel's key demands - and Hamas' willingness to accept the offer.
The Egyptian truce proposal, of
which Ha’aretz obtained a copy, contains three clauses.
1. Israel and the Palestinians
will agree to an immediate, time-limited cease-fire, during which the
border crossings will be opened for humanitarian aid and Egypt will lead
negotiations on a long-term truce.
2. The long-term truce must
include provisions on both border security and an end to the blockade of
3. Fatah and Hamas should resume
Egyptian officials told Ha’aretz
they believe the initial, short-term truce should last a few months, to
allow plenty of time for negotiations on the long-term cease-fire.
However, the proposal does not
require Israel to withdraw from Gaza during the initial truce, and Hamas
has said it will
not accept the proposal
unless that omission is corrected.
Salah al-Bardawil, who was Hamas'
Gazan representative to the talks with Egypt, said his organization
demands that Israel completely withdraw within five days of whenever the
initial cease-fire takes effect.
Hamas also insists that the
agreement include a deadline by which the border crossings must reopen.
Israel insists that the crossings not be reopened until the smuggling
issue is resolved to its satisfaction.
Israel also wants Hamas to agree
to an explicit timetable for concluding a deal on kidnapped soldier
Gilad Shalit and to be more flexible in what it is demanding in exchange
for Shalit. - Ha
Israel's assault on Gaza's Hamas rulers has destroyed at least $1.4
billion worth of buildings, roads, pipes, power lines and other
infrastructure in already impoverished territory, Palestinian surveyors
estimate. - Jerusalem Post
EGYPT URGES ISRAEL TO
IMPLEMENT UNCONDITIONAL GAZA TRUCE
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has called on Israel to end its
military operations in the Gaza Strip immediately and said his country
would call for a meeting on post-war reconstruction in the enclave.
"I call on
Israel today to end its military operations immediately. And we call on
its leaders to (agree) to an unconditional ceasefire, and I call on them
to withdraw all the forces completely from the strip," Mubarak said in a
televised address to the nation.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday his country was
to the U.S.-Israeli pact
to halt arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip, telling reporters "We have
no commitment towards this memo whatsoever."
ISRAEL'S GOALS IN CAST LEAD HAVE BEEN ATTAINED
Jan 18/09. PM Ehud
Olmert declared Operation Cast Lead a victory last night and
threw the ball into Hamas' court, declaring a unilateral cease-fire that
suspends the three-week operation. The cease-fire’s future depends on
whether Hamas continues to fire on Israel.
announcement followed a 3-hour emergency meeting of the 12-member
security cabinet that approved the cease-fire by a vote of 7-2.
It was decided that
Israel will stop its offensive, but will keep the IDF forces in place,
see how Hamas responds, and whether an effective mechanism will be set
up on the border to stop smuggling. If so, then discussions will begin
on withdrawing the troops. If not, the operation will continue.
Olmert said the
cease-fire would go into effect at 2 a.m. Sunday morning.
In a special address
to the nation on Saturday night, Olmert said, "Today, we face you again
and can say that the conditions have been created so that our targets,
as defined when we launched the operation, have been fully achieved, and
Those goals were defined
as stopping the
rocket fire on Israel and
an end to the arms smuggling into Gaza.
"Hamas was hit hard,
both its military capabilities and its governing infrastructure," Olmert
said. "Its leaders are in hiding," Olmert said. "Many of its members
have been killed. The factories in which its missiles were manufactured
have been destroyed. The smuggling routes, through dozens of tunnels,
have been bombed. The Hamas' capabilities for conveying weapons within
the Gaza Strip have been damaged."
Olmert said that
according to the assessments of all the security services, "Hamas'
capabilities have been struck a heavy blow, which will harm its ability
to rule and its military capabilities for some time."
Olmert stressed that
the security cabinet met after he received a phone call from Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak describing the Egyptian cease-fire proposal.
"Hamas is not a part
of the arrangement we reached," he said. "Terrorist organizations like
Hamas have no part in agreements."
following Olmert's announcement, Hamas fired eight missiles at Israel.
said it was not obligated by the unilateral declaration.
"The occupier must
halt his fire immediately and withdraw from our land and lift his
blockade and open all crossings and we will not accept any one Zionist
soldier on our land, regardless of the price it exacts," Hamas spokesman
Fawzi Barhoum said.
The return of
kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit was not a condition of the cease-fire,
though both Olmert and Barak pledged to continue working unceasingly for
Jan 16/09. Pressure is mounting
on Israel and Hamas to find a way of ending the war in Gaza. Both sides
have responded positively, if tentatively, to Egyptian proposals for a
phased truce that would begin with a lull in fighting for a defined
period (10 days by some accounts). That interlude would then allow for
the brokering of a more comprehensive cease-fire. But each side's goals
from any truce remain antagonistic to those of the other, and reaching
an agreement that bridges the vast gap between them remains a Herculean
Here are the three most likely
scenarios, each with different political consequences for the main
players and the future of the conflict:
Given Israel's long-term goal of
ousting Hamas in Gaza, some key military and political leaders have
urged that it expand the goals of its current operation, and use its
momentum to take control of Gaza City and decapitate Hamas.
Israel has insisted that a
cease-fire be "sustainable," by ensuring that Hamas is unable to rearm
itself. An actual disarming of Hamas' current militias is unlikely
without a full-scale reoccupation of Gaza, which would involve tens of
thousands more Israeli troops over many months. Anything less will see
Hamas continue to be the dominant security presence inside Gaza.
Hamas will claim victory
from any truce that results in the crossings being reopened.
Ending the current operation on
the basis of a formal long-term truce in Gaza will codify Israeli-Hamas
coexistence. That's why Israeli journalist Aluf Benn dubbed the conflict
"Gaza's War of
allusion to the conflict 60 years ago in which Israel established its
existence as an intractable political-military fact.
SCENARIO 3: THE
GUNS GO SILENT WITHOUT A FORMAL TRUCE
If the offensive cannot deal
Hamas a death blow, Israel may see benefit in holding its fire, in line
with the first phase of the Egyptian plan but not necessarily concluding
a comprehensive cease-fire. It would simply maintain the halt to
hostilities and even withdraw its forces on an open-ended basis.
Whichever of these three
permutations defines the Gaza outcome, the likelihood is that
Operation Cast Lead will not have ended the conflict between Israel
and Hamas, but will instead have propelled it into a new phase.
The full TIME article
gives an excellent analysis of the option. Read>
INTERIOR MINISTER SAID SIYAM DIES IN IAF STRIKE
Jan 16/09. The IDF
has stepped up pressure on Gaza, killing Hamas Interior Minister Said
Siyam, and pushing deep into Gaza City.
Siam, the most
senior Hamas political leader killed since Operation Cast Lead
began on December 27, died along with his brother Iad, his son, and Gen.
Salah Abu Shrakh, head of the Hamas General Security Service. The four
were killed by an IAF strike on Iad Siyam's home in Jabalya.
Siyam was the Hamas
political echelon's liaison with the group's military wing, Izzadin
Kassam, and was responsible for the various security apparatuses in
including the Hamas police and naval forces.
said he was one of the Islamist movement's more radical leaders and was
a close associate of its Damascus-based chief Khaled Mashaal.
Siyam was seen as a main
architect of the violent Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007,
when Hamas fighters expelled forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas.
A Hamas expert in the West Bank
said Siyam's death was a "huge loss for Hamas," but he noted that the
movement is easily capable of generating new leaders, often more radical
than their predecessors.
Six other Hamas operatives were
wounded in the air strike in the heart of Gaza City. According to
Palestinian reports, Mahmoud Watfa, one of the commanders of Izzadin
Kassam, was killed in the attack.
HAMAS LEADER KHALED
Jan 16/09. Hamas' most powerful
official is widely thought to be Khaled Mashaal, the Syrian-based
political leader. Mashaal is considered a hard-liner who consults
frequently with Syrian and Iranian officials. Top Iranian officials have
visited Damascus frequently throughout the Israeli offensive that began
on Dec. 27.
Mashaal has repeatedly called
for the militant group to fight on despite more than 1,000 deaths during
the offensive. Hundreds of those who died are believed to be fighters,
but Gaza medical officials say about half of the dead were civilians.
Mashaal's power lies in the fact
that he controls
the group's purse strings and funnels money as he chooses — much of it
thought to come from Iran
— to individual Hamas leaders, inside both Gaza and the West Bank. Gaza
Hamas leaders in particular depend almost entirely on outside money
because the territory's borders are sealed.
From article -
APPARENT IN HAMAS AS FIGHTING INTENSIFIES