Tag Archives: cease-fire

Israel Defense Minister Opposes Gaza Invasion

Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak emphasized the current policy of negotiation and relying on a cease fire offers better potential for peace in Gaza than following policies of those who seek an armed invasion of the area by Israeli forces. He pointed out even if IDF troops “stay there two years and destroy the Hamas regime down to the last office and the lat operative” in the aftermath Israel would still be confronted by an angry people who would continue supporting Hamas or groups of a similar nature. He stressed Israel cannot “control another people against their will and the Palestinian people” will still choose Hamas.

Barak pointed out the cease fire has held and rockets no longer are hitting targets in Israel. He admitted there was smuggling of ammunition and weapons into Gaza but argued the overall peace that now prevails is worth the risk.

Now, if Israel leaders can take the next step and have Hamas participate in negotiations with the Palestinian authority, there might be a chance for peace.

Hamas Will Supervise Truce Agreement With Israel

The cease fire between Israel and Hamas is in danger of being fractured by the actions of dissidents who continue firing rockets into Israel. However, it now appears likely that Hamas leaders intend to carry out provisions of the cease fire even if it means arresting those who attempt to anger Israel. Mohamed Abu Ermana, a Fatah militant who opposed the cease fire was arrested by Hamas although he thought no such action would ever occur. Saleh Al Naami, a writer for Al Ahram, was traveling in Gaza when a rocket was sent into Israel. He reports virtually all passengers on the bus were furious at the action which they regarded as only helping Israel. Recent polls indicate 70% of Gazans want the truce to succeed. Ghassan Abu Sambah, a teacher in Gaza, told the reporter “people need a break” from violence.

The Hamas government of Prime Minister Haniyeh, is confronting militants like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who insist there must be an overall agreement that encompasses the West Bank. For the first time, Hamas is confronted by the idea it represents the conservative force in the fight for Palestinian freedom. It will be interesting how Hamas deals with this new reality.

Hamas And Israel Inch Toward Maintaining Agreement

Since the cease fire has been implemented in the Gaza area, rockets have been fired from within the Stripe which threaten to destroy the fragile agreement. Last week, Hamas insisted it would not serve as a “policeman” for Israel in order to enforce the cease fire, but apparently wiser heads have decided the truce will collapse unless Hamas exerts its leadership. Mamoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, made clear to the Islamist Jihad they had to end the rocket attacks. “We have reached an agreement with Islamist Jihad,” he said, “that anyone, even if he’s from Hamas would be arrested and disarmed if he violates the agreement.”

He also noted that several extremists connected with Fatah have been arrested on suspicion they were planning to undermine the cease fire. Israel decided to allow 80 trucks loaded with supplies to enter Gaza. Now, if everyone can hold off shooting, the cease fire might actually produce peaceful results.

Hamas Reneges On Promises About Smuggling

For the past year, this blog has been urging Israel to accept Hamas offers for a cease fire and work cooperatively with that organization, including engaging in negotiations. A cease fire finally emerged from negotiations through the good offices of the Egyptian government, but Hamas leaders are hardly fulfilling promises made during these talks. Hamas leader, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, now claims his group never gave any commitment to halt the smuggling of arms in Gaza. “We cannt talk about stopping smuggling because it is something beyond our ability as a government and we did not give a commitment in this regard.” He also now claims Hamas never promised to curb activities of other organizations to ensure there is an end to rocket attacks on Israel. He did say Hamas would voluntarily do its best to halt militant actions.

Hamas can not have it both ways. It cannot ask Israel to halt aggressive actions if Muslim groups are attacking Israel. What is the meaning of a cease fire if Muslim militants continue hitting Israel with rockets?

It is reasonable that some form of smuggling will continue, but Israel is not worried about someone smuggling in food goods, but it can not tolerate smuggling in of weapons and that type of smuggling must be halted by Hamas.

Hamas Agrees To Abide By Truce On West Bank

Hamas leaders in Gaza announced their intention of observing a halt to aggressive actions in the West Bank even though there is no such requirement as part of the new cease fire agreement. “Hamas will abide by the tahadiyah(period of calm) in the West Bank as long as Israel refrains from targeting our members there.” Hamas also noted that President Abbas has implemented a policy of arresting or closing down Hamas activities on the West Bank. It is apparent that Hamas will abide by the cease fire and only respond if there are provocative actions on the part of the Israel government.

This is a time for the Israel government to demonstrate real leadership by implementing policies that would show its willingness to be at peace with Palestinian groups. The first thing that must happen is to cease targeting Hamas leaders with violence because any such actions will end the cease fire. A second thing that must be done is to move away from the idea of bombing Iran because such an event would simply reawaken violence in every Palestinian area. Both sides need peace.

This is also a time for President Abbas to foster the idea of a “national dialogue” that leads to a unity government.

Israel And Hamas Cease Fire But Not Cease War of Words

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease fire which will take effect today, but the war of words between the parties will not cease any time in the near future. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel warned the truce was “fragile and likely to be short-lived” while Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, warned if Israel does not live up to the agreement, his organization will respond with violence. Israel expects an end to rocket attacks and Hamas expects free movement of people and goods in and out of the Gaza strip.

Although, his government has just concluded an agreement which offers a possibility of an end to violence, Prime Minister Olmert could not offer any word of encouragement about the agreement. “Hamas has not changed its skin. These are blood thirsty and despicable terrorists who even today are doing all they can to harm Israel civilians.”

Perhaps, it is asking too much of either party to soften the rhetoric of hate and offer people hope of peace. It might be helpful for Israel to make some dramatic offer of friendship such as inviting Hamas intellectuals to a dialogue on how to achieve peace between the two groups. Or, offering use of Israel hospital facilities for Hamas patients in need of high quality medical treatment. The words of peace may fail, but if never uttered no one will ever know if they could make an impact.

Hamas And Israel Agree To Cease Fire

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease fire which will go into effect tomorrow. The cease fire agreement came about due to efforts of Egypt to serve in a mediating role between the combatants. According to terms of the agreement, all hostilities will cease as of Thursday and the cease fire will remain in effect for an initial six months. A Hamas spokesperson said: “Hamas accepted the truce offer proposed by Egypt which stipulates a reciprocal halt to all military operations.” President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority expressed his support of the agreement which he hopes will accelerate peace discussions between Israel and his government. Hamas leaders said they would seek meetings with Abbas and representatives of the European Union in order to get the Rafah border crossing open.

Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he was cautious and would watch to see if the cease fire is carried out. The White House declined to comment on an agreement between Israel and Hamas, a group which is on the American terrorist list.

The cease fire proves agreements can be made with “terrorist” groups and the road to peace is involving all concerned parties. Israel is also using the good offices of Turkey to negotiate with Syria, another nation on the terror list. Who knows, maybe America will make an attempt at serious negotiations with the other terror nation, Iran.

Hamas–Israel Cease Fire Imminent

There are reports a cease fire is imminent between Hamas and Israel due to efforts by Egyptian mediator Omar Suleiman, head of Intelligence. It appears once the cease fire is in place Israel and Hamas will conclude final arrangements for the exchange of captured Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit. An important factor in facilitating the exchange will be the number of Palestinian prisoners Israel is willing to release. Yesterday, an American military mission arrived in Gaza to assist Egyptian authorities who are monitoring tunnels through which Hamas smuggles materials. Israel is insistent the smuggling as well as rocket attacks from Gaza must cease.

Meanwhile, Israel and Syrian negotiators concluded the current round of talks that are being mediated by Turkey. The greater is Israel’s involvement in negotiating with Syria or Hamas the more difficult it will be for Israel to object if a new American president seeks to meet with regional leaders. Ironically, President Bush in his speech to the Israel parliament denounced negotiations with terrorists even as the Israel government was engaged in such discussions. Will Bush now term Israel as “appeasing terrorism?”

Israel Agrees To Egyptian Negotiated Truce

An Israel delegation arrived in Cairo today to pursue further discussions with Egyptian mediators and Hamas officials for a long term cease fire in Gaza. The Israel Cabinet has decided to call off plans for a full blown invasion of Gaza and will work with Hamas in order to end violence in the Gaza area. General Amos Gilad will draw upon the talent of Egyptian Intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, to finalize details on the cease fire. The cease fire entails an end to rocket attacks from Gaza, an end to any terrorist attack emanating from Gaza, and assurances that all terrorist groups in Gaza agree to these ideas. In return, Israel will lift its blockade of Gaza.

The agreement is composed of three stages. In stage one, all rocket and terrorist attacks will end. After a few weeks, Stage 2 will kick in with Israel gradually lifting the blockade. In stage 3, all aspects of the blockade will end and Gazans will have freedom to move in an out of the Strip.

Fortunately, calmer heads have asserted themselves and hindered efforts by war hawks for violence which would have made impossible any peace between Israel and Palestinians leaders.

US-Britain Disagree On Pakistan Policy To Miitants

There appears to be growing divergence between the United States and Great Britain regarding the foreign policy of Pakistan in handling Taliban militants in northwest regions of the nation. During the past few weeks, Pakistan has been engaged in discussions with Taliban leaders over ways to end violence. A jirga consisting of elders has brought together government and Taliban representatives to hammer out a cease fire. British Defence Minister Des Browne welcomed these efforts to end violence in the country insisting any agreement to achieve peace would prove fruitful. However, Tom Casey, speaking for the US State Department complained “we have seen similar kinds of agreements reached in the past that have not been successful.” The State Department fears any agreement with Taliban militants will eventually undermine the security of Pakistan.

Even as Pakistan leaders are negotiating with the Taliban, the government still must decide on a policy of what to do about America’s favorite friend, President Musharraf. Nawaz Sharif, of the PML-N made clear his party’s determination to “give a safe exit to the man(Musharraf) and hinted there should be criminal prosecution of the president.