Hamas has agreed to a temporary cease fire in its rocket attacks on Israel after receiving a warning from Egyptian officials that Israel was planning a massive attack on Gaza and would seek out Hamas leaders and kill them. “The Egyptians old us that Israel is planning to assassinate number of Hamas leaders,” according to one official. Hamas also indicated it was willing to discuss a long term end of attacks provided that Israel opens the Gaza crossings and agrees to end attacks on Hamas people on the West Bank. Israel officials believe Hamas is finally beginning to understand they simply can not continue sending rockets into Israel without some consequence to their action.
Egypt is trying to negotiate a truce that would witness opening the Gaza crossings and an end to rocket attacks. If those are the conditions it would be intelligent for Israel to cooperate and see what happens if they cease attacks on Palestinians on the West Bank.
Hamas is ever ready to condemn Israel for violations of truce agreements, but it appears to ignore its own responsibility for the current conflict. Twenty three Kassam rockets pounded the western Negev area of Israel as Hamas prepared to end the truce with Israel. Of course, it is a rather strange truce highlighted by Hamas doing everything in its power to create turmoil and disorder in the region. Israel defense officials said the escalation would not result in any immediate action to enter Gaza and destroy rocket launch sites, but it left open the possibility of such an offense operation. Prime Minister Olmert stated in blunt terms: “the rocket fire is just clarifying what we’ve been saying all along, that we can’t have a situation where supposedly thee is an agreed-upon cease fire, while he reality on the found is completely different.”
The Israel army is itching to respond to the rocket attacks with some sort of invasion of Gaza. Most probably, that is exactly what Hamas desires–chaos and the death of innocent Gazans. Hamas knows if Israel invades Gaza it makes impossible for Abbas to negotiate an agreement to create an independent Palestinian nation. Hamas will do everything in its power to prevent emergence of such a nation. It prefers disorder and anger toward Israel because, Hamas endures on the basis of rhetoric, not action. Peace is the last item on its agenda.
Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told foreign diplomats that Israel would reoccupy the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip if that was the only way to halt Kassam rocket attacks on neighboring cities. Secretary of State Condi Rice is attempting new efforts to restart the apparently stalled peace negotiations with President Abbas which have broken down due to the Gaza rocket situation. Livni made clear “we cannot afford this kind of exreme Islamic state controlled by Hamas” and unless rocket attacks cease, “we might find outselves in a situation where we have no other choice” but to send troops back into Gaza. She also blamed President Abbas for weakness by deciding to halt further discussions with the Israel government on resolving issues between Israel and Palestinian leaders.
Hamas in Gaza has been able to control the situation and decide whether Abbas can continue to pursue peace with Israel. They are undertaking a dangerous gamble, but so far it is working by allowing it to decide the course of Israel and Abbas actions. Israel still doesn’t grasp the importance of engaging in peace discussions with all groups including Hamas. Israel actually believed President Bush had an idea on how to achieve peace by the fiasco of the Annapolis Conference which excluded Hamas. The Hamas leadership has placed on the table an offer of a hudna, a cease fire in which neither side is allowed to continue military operations. Israel should accept this offer and insist Hamas must participate in peace talks along with Abbas.
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Iran, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Annapolis conference, Gaza, Hamas, Livni, rocket attacks