Tag Archives: cease-fire

Cease Fire In Gaza?

The struggle to establish a modicum of peace in Gaza continued as there were hopeful signs Israel was prepared to accept the cease fire agreement hammered out by Egypt with Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. Reports indicate Israel will give an “unofficial” acceptance of the agreement only after Palestinian factions announce they will accept the deal. In additiona, Israel will open border crossings to Gsaza and allow the transfer of commericial shipments, medicine and fuel. On Sunday, Hamas warned of “unprecedented escalaltion” against Israel if it did not agree to a cease fire.

A cease fire is just that– a temporary halt to fighting. Hopefully, Egypt can reach out to Turkey which has the confidence of Israel, and initiate a process of peace in the Middle East. It is best to keep Condi Rice and the Bush administration out of peace negotiations since they have lost the confidence of Arab nations as being neutral mediators. it is time for a fresh beginning that is apart from any American involvement.

Islamic Jihad-Cease Fire Possible

The Islamic Jihad expressed a willingness to accept an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire in the Gaza Strip on the condition there would be “removal of the siege on the Palestinian people and the opening of the crossings” on the Gaza border. Ziad al-Nahia said he would accept the deal because it would benefit the Palestinian population. The Islmic Jihad and other militant groups are agreeing initially to focus on a cease fire in the Gaza Strip but hope eventually the end of fighting would also extend to other areas such as the West Bank. The Egyptian news agency, MENA, said “all of the Palestinian factions have agreed to the Egyptian proposal on a truce with Israel.”

The Israel government has already indicated several objections to the truce proposal because it believes such a cease fire might allow militant factions to resupply and obtain additional weapons. The central issue is whether the Palestinians are prepared for a short or long term period of truce. It obviously makes sense to seek the longer term truce and accept the reality of breaches. But, unless one begins the process, the process will never achieve a fruition of purpose. The road to peace begins with a single step.

Deadlock In Pakistan With Militants

The on again off again exchange between the Pakistan government and Taliban millitants in the frontier regions apparently has simmered down for the present. Baitullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistan Taliban, has broken off talks with the government over feeling among the Taliban leader of a lack of sincerity on the part of Pakistan leaders for a genuine peace agreement. Mehsud insists upon complete withdrawal of all Pakistan forces from the frontier region, an action that will not occur. The Taliban regard the withdrawal as a “symbolic gesture” but the government views such an action as playing into the hands of Taliban militants.

Dr. Asad, in the Mohmand Agency, demanded the government to eliminate all check points or the Taliban would take charge of things. He also warned thieves and adulterers that Shaira law will soon be enforced, and, if they were smart, it is best to depart now. There are reports from Texas that pitcher Roger Clemens has decided to avoid the Momand Agency during any baseball tour of Pakistan.

Hamas Claim Israel Rejects Cease Fire

A senior member of Hamas insists his group has offered a cease fire agreement but it is being rejected by Israel. Moussa Abu Marzouk said his organization had made such offers through an Egyptian mediation group but had not received a response from the Israel government. Abu Marzuk made clear Hamas would not release the captured Israel soldiers, Gilad Shalit until Israel is willing to release Palestinian prisoners in their hands. Last wek, Hamas plitical leader Khaled Mehsai insisted: “Gilad is still alive nd we treat him in a good way while the Israelis treat ur prisoners badly and everyone knows that.”

There is always a bottom line reality factor in any standoff between opposing forces. At some point, both sides have to be willing to compromise. Israel does not wish to negotiate with Hamas and it does not wish to surrender some Palestinian prisoners. They may well take the high moral ground but it will not lead to peace or the release of Mr. Shalit.

Hamas Offers Cease Fire As Rockets Hit Israel Preschool

The on a gain off again story of possible cease fire in the Gaza Strip continued as exiled Damascus based Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, sent a messatge to Arab leaders offering to consier the possibilit of an over all calm with Israel. According to th daily Al Hayat, the message was timed to coincide with the Arab League summt scheduled to take place in Syria’s capital over the weekend. Mashaal defended the policy of firing rockets although his actions have come under severe criticism from Arab leaders who regard it as pointless and merely making more difficult attainment of any form of peace in the region. Mashall wrote use of rockets was meant to defend the people of Gaz, but added, “all of the factions of the Palestinian resistance have expressed their willngness to seriously examne the issue of a calm, provided that is overall, concurrent and mutual.”

Egypt, which has been working to broker a peace, has been informed by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, of a willingness for a cease fire provided it includes the West Bank. However, there are as yet no signs the Israel government will accept that proviso. There are risks in any agreement, but continuation of the present situation is a greater risk. A rocket hit an Israel preschool and luckily no one was killed. If a rocket kills Israel children there is no doubt, Israel forces might well strom into Gaza. Everyone needs a period of calm.

Egypt Seeks To Broker Israel-Hamas Truce

Israel and Egypt are conducting intensive negotiations in an effort to reach a long term cease fire agreement in the gaza Strip wich would include reopening the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Israel Defense Ministry officials visited Cairo to discuss possible peace arrangements with Egyptian officials. In exchange for a cease fire, Hamas is demanding an end to the economic siege of Gaza bu apparently Israel opposes accepting such terms but might be willing to consider a partial reopening of the Rafah crossing. There is discussion of bringing back European monitors to supervise conditions at the crossing and whether they would have a right to search people moving through Rafah. Hamas most probbly would accept a low profile presence at the crossing and allow European monitors to have a more prominent role.

Israel fears Hamas is only interested in a cease fire in order to replenish stores of rockets and for that reason its negotiators are taking a hard line stance. Condi Rice is urging Israel to avoid antagonizing Egypt and damaging its relationship with that nation. President Mubarak spoke to his nation yesterday and among his comments was: “Your people’s security will not be achieved through collective punishment, attacks, incursion, siege, roadblocks, and settlement construction. What wlll achieve it is a just and swift agreement.”

Cease Fire In Gaza Ceases

The week-long lull in fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza appears to have come to a conclusion as rockets slammed into the western Negev heading to the city of Siderot and other communities bordering on the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants insist they are responding to the killing Wednesday of four Islamic Jihad gunmen in Bethlehem. The Israel Defense Force carried out an attack on a rocket launcher in response to the new attacks. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the killing of militants in Bethlehem is merely a demonstration of the determination to “hunt and target every killer who has Jewish blood on his hands.” Israel officials blame Hamas for the end of the cease fire and promise to respond in an appropriate manner to the rocket attacks.

In every situation in which opposing forces have finally come to a peaceful resolution of their conflict, each side has been compelled to put aside anger at the reality their opponent has blood on their hands. Palestinians can cite examples of the death of innocent civilians and Israel can argue militants have killed innocent Israelis. At some point, both sides must accept the reality there will always be blood in the past but the future can become blood-free.

Hamas Sets Terms For Cease Fire With Israel

Hamas has publicly annunced its terms for establishing a cease fire with Israel as Egypt works behind the scenes to broker a truce that would end Gaza rocket attacks and Israel bombings. Hamas Gaza leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said, “There must be a commitment by Israel to end all its aggression against our people, assassinations, killings and raids, and lift the (Gaza) siege and reopen the crossings.” He said a cease fire agreement should be “reciprocal, comprehensive and simultaneous” and should apply both to Gaza and the West Bank. He followed with the normal Hamas rhetoric about not abandoning “our people in the West Bank.”

Egyptian negotiators are attempting to hammer out a deal under which rocket attacks would cease and troops under the command of President Abbas would control crossings. The agreement is in keeping with the 2005 crossings arrangement between the US, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority wich called for placing the crossings under forces loyal to Abbas. Damascus-based Hamas leader Mohammed Nasser said his group was willng to agree on a cease fire if both sdes respected one.

The conditions for a cease fire are now in place. Step one in any movement toward peace is ending violence. A cease fire agreement will not resolve all issues between Palestinians and Israel, but it will prove if a cease fire agreement can be kept, other such arrangements might also be respected by both sides. The road to peace sometimes begins with small steps.

Cease Fire In Gaza– Yes Or No?

Palelstinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Jordanian reporters in Amman that “a top Israel official is sabotaging the peace talks with Israel over internal matters and due to a personal hostility towards me.” He apparently was referring to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. On Monday, Abbas contradicted an earlier statement by Barak and insisted a cease fire had been reached between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He claimed Hamas leaders wanted a cease fire because they feared for their lives. However, Hamas spokesperson Sami ABu Zuhri, insisted: “Hamas leaders seek martyrdom and would never bargan over the blood of their people like others do.”

The reality is there has been an end to rocket attacks in the Gaza area and Israel has ceased its bombing. President Abbas raised important points concerning the peace process which were stated in clear terms by Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia, “Israel must freeze construction in areas claimed by Palestinians in order to get peace talks back on track.” Olmert’s decision to give in to Orthodox Jewish demands for more housing construction on the West Bank can only damage efforts to achieve peace. There must be an end to housing construction as was promised to Palestinians.

Qatar Offers Middleman Role In Israel-Palestine Conflict

Qatar offered to broker a cease fire btween Israel and Hamas the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamed bin Jassem al-Thani, told a member of Israel’s Knesset. He told Yossi Beilin in Doha, “You are making a big mistake if you think you can reach an agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas without including Hamas in the talks.” He insisted Abbas would not be able to sign a meaningful agreement without having the inclusion of Hamas in that document. The Aqtari said it was an “illusion” to believe Abbas could be separated from Hamas in any final resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

Bellin’s response was that Hamas had no intention of agreeing to a cease fire, and its intransigence was the major obstacle to reaching an accord. The Qatar prime minister responded, “you should at least strive to reach a cease-fire” and insisted his nation could assist in reachng such an agreement. He argued Hamas has undergone a dramatic change and is now discussing issues such as a cease fire.

We believe a major mistake was made by not inviting Hamas to the Annapolis Conference where it would have been confronted by a large number of Arab nations interested in ending conflict and discord. Instead, the Bush-Olmert approach of not recognizing one’s opponent only strengthened forces of violence in Hamas.