Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab language al-Arabiya television network that Israel had in fact agreed to a cease fire with Hamas. His statement apparently contradicts comments made earlier by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who insisted there was no cease fire agreement with Hamas. According to Abbas, Hamas had obtained a promise from Israel it will end the policy of killing leaders of the militant organization. It appears firing of Kassam rockets and Israel military efforts have quieted down over the past few days. There are reports Secretary Rice during her recent visit began the process of some unofficial exchanges between Hamas and Israel. Olmert did say “if they don’t fire Qaddams at us, we won’t attack in Gaza.” A military source indicated both sides are cooling down their operations before things got out of hand.
Military sources indicate Hamas knows there are three alternatives:
1. If rocket fire stops completely, the IDF will take no further military action.
2. If rockets hit Siderot and other communities near Gaza, Israel will respond with air attacks.
3. If rockets hit Ashketon, there will be ground operations.
The real question is what to do during this lull. If Hamas uses it to resupply without any thought of ending rocket attacks, it will become a disaster for Gaza and for Israel. A loical solution at this point is to include Hamas representatives in peace negotiations with Israel and Abbas.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Abbas, Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Olmert
Hamas rockets continued hitting targets in Israel resulting in operations by the Israel Defense Force to launch air and ground assaults against Hamas militants. Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that “Israel must brace itself for Jihad’s response” while Hamas leaders warned of a “wave of martyrdom operations” against Israel targets. The current approach to dealing with Hamas and the approach used by Hamas to deal with its hostility toward Israel consists of attacks and counter attacks. Neither side can point to any real success other than citing the number killed or the destruction caused by bombing. It is seemingly a tit for tat approach that simply is not getting at real issues such as how to resolve Palestinian and Israel disagreements. One obvious casualty in the seemingly nonstop attack/counterattack is the road map for peace that supposedly was to emerge from the Annapolis conference.
Albert Einstein supposedly once said the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again without any apparent change resulting from these actions. The Hamas/IDF exchange offers no apparent benefits for either side. A mistake at Annapolis was not inviting Hamas. The Hamas leaders would not have been able to engage in their violent rhetoric when in the company of the Arab world that seeks an end to the Palestinian/israel conflict. Negotiations in which important Arab nations– who also help support Hamas–insist on an end to violence is the best bet to set in motion concrete steps to halt the rocket bombing and counter attacks. One might argue that it is impossible to negotiate with those who practice violence. However, both Israeli and Palestinians who are currently engaged in negotiations were at one point in their pasts using violence to achieve end goals. There is need for Arab leaders to join with Palestinians and Israelis in getting Hamas to the negotiating table if there is to be an end to the Gaza violence. Escalation of the violence will only doom any opportunity for peace.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Palestinians, rocket attacks, violence
As Arab nations and Israel prepare for the upcoming meeting in Annapolis to discuss Israel-Palestinain issues, the IDF has intensified its bombing of Gaza positions. The Israeli air force is bombing offices, police stations and police patrols, five policemen were killed in separate bombings. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak says an attack into Gaza is “imminent,” and Israeli TV Channel 10 said last Friday the world supported an attack by their nation on Gaza. Amnon Abramovic, an announcer said bluntly, “our army killed in 24 hours 10 Palestinians, including children, and yet we didn’t hear anyone protesting.” According to Israeli television Channel Two, a heated debate is taking place within the Israeli Joint Chiefs of Staffs over whether or not to attack police stations since destroying the Gaza police might expose the area to chaos. Hamas is warning that an Israel invasion would be met with some “surprises” from their arsenal of weapons. In the meantime, reports are circulating that President Abbas is urging Secretary of State Rice to hold a January, 2008 conference where the focus would be on Syrian-Israel issues.
There is no question, continuer rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza are provocations that can not readily be dismissed. However, since there is an opportunity at Annapolis to confront Middle Eastern issues, the Israel army must stand down and allow peace to deal with issues. It is also vitally important to invite Hamas to the meeting and get them engaged with diplomacy rather than being allowed to stand apart with only violence as their opportunity to be heard.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Abbas, Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Israel
The United States has apparently given the green light for Israel forces to launch an attack on Gaza i order to wipe out smuggling efforts by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Defense Minister Ehud Barak discussed the plan with President Bush and key American officials. He has been meeting the past several days with Israel army leaders to review the scope and scale of the proposed operation. A major concern is the impact on the upcoming Annapolis meetings to discuss Middle Eastern issues and deal with ways to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Israel forces recently uncovered several tunnels that were being used to transport war materials or serve as a way for people to be smuggled into Gaza.
There is no doubt Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are obtaining rockets and other weapons through smuggling. At this point in time, Hamas is not being invited to the Annapolis meeting. Perhaps, Israel might consider the possibility of inviting Hamas to the meeting and having the smuggling issue discussed among a large audience. The embarrassment of defending smuggling would place Hamas in a weak position and compel them to agree on improved methods to prevent the influx of military weapons.
Posted in George Bush, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Israel, smuggling tunnels
The Israel Defense Force continued its attempt to wipe out Palestinians who are sending rockets into Israel. A reported 11 terrorists were killed in missile attacks, but apparently about a dozen civilians were also killed or wounded. President Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinians to unite in the face of Israel’s “abuse, aggression and war crimes” while Hamas leaders promised Israel would pay for its attacks in Gaza. israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak is warning there might be a “broad and complex operation in Gaza.”
The US upcoming Middle Eastern Conference appears doomed before it even begins. Both sides are trading insults and resorting to violence because apparently violence is the only measure which provides a sense of accomplishment. This is the time for America to insist Israel “stand down” and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations must demand that Hamas and other groups end rocket attacks. Those rockets are coming from Middle Eastern nations and they must be halted.
Posted in Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Politics, Syria, War
Tagged Abbas, Barak, Hamas, IDF, Israel, Palestinian, rocket attacks