If this doesn’t take the cake for one of the strangest ceasefires ever negotiated I don’t know what does. Israel has negotiated a ceasefire with…no, not Hamas, but the U.S. Since both Israel and the U.S. pretend Hamas doesn’t exist they’ve left Egypt to negotiate with Hamas. So one party negotiates with the U.S., the other with Egypt, then Egypt sort of coordinates with Israel and the U.S. Is this strange or what? For the life of me, I can’t see what, why or how this ceasefire can work. But here’s the provisions as spelled out in a N.Y. Times report:
The cease-fire under discussion is more formal than the one that broke down late last month, when each side accused the other of failing to live up to its terms, and in some ways seems devised to overcome the last one’s weaknesses.
Unlike the last one, this will be written down, in Israel’s case, in the form of an agreement with Egypt and the understanding with the United States. Israel and Hamas do not speak officially but Egypt has been brokering terms between the two. Israel was unwilling to have an accord that might confer legitimacy on Hamas, which preaches Israel’s destruction.
The agreement hammered out in Washington would provide American technical assistance, as well as international monitors, to crack down on the tunnels. It would not, however, involve the deployment of American troops in the region. The composition of the monitoring force was not yet clear, a senior American official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The agreement stipulates that the United States would work to interdict weapons with its NATO partners, expanding significantly the responsibility to keep Hamas disarmed.
No mention in this report what Israel will do aside from ceasing killing of Gazans (for now). No word on when or if Israel will withdraw. Certainly not a peep out of lifting the siege (has v’halilah).
What has Hamas agreed to?
A senior Egyptian official said that Hamas was unhappy with Israel’s plan to leave its forces in Gaza during a short cease-fire, but that it had accepted the idea of placing the Palestinian Authority in charge of the border crossing into Egypt and the presence of European monitors there. It was unclear how the divisions within Hamas as well as within the Arab world would affect negotiations in the coming days.
As far as I’m concerned this is typical of the half-baked, half-assed efforts of the Bush-Rice team in brokering agreements between these parties. They have no juice with either one unless a particular side views it as in THEIR OWN interest in accept the terms offered. When the terms no longer suit them, they ignore the agreement. This has happened before with Rice-negotiated proposals between Israel and the Palestinians and will no doubt happen with this one.
I presume that Israel assumes that leaving its troops in Gaza indefinitely will motivate Hamas to cave to their terms for removing them. I’m not so sure. Anyone care to lay odds on whether this will work? And how long it will be before the next conflagration?
At least the 2006 Lebanon war ended through a UN-brokered ceasefire in which all parties coordinated through the UN. What overarching body will coordinate this mess of a ceasefire? If Israel or Hezbollah violate the Lebanese ceasefire they have to answer to the world community through the UN. Who will Hamas or Israel have to answer to? Condi Rice? She’ll be off playing piano recitals and long gone from Foggy Bottom.
Jerry Haber says
The longer Israeli troops stay in Gaza, the more will be killed. See under Iraq.
Derek Wall says
http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2009/01/pax-romana.html is my thought, a ceasefire with the UN would be a start
Given the history of intrangidance on both sides, this sorry sight will be repeated again every 3-4 years No one seems interested in actually addressing the real issues of a Palestinian state, security for all inhabitants, recognition of Israel, ceasing attacks and withdrawal from the occupied territories, this cyclical carnage will be repeated.
Don’t get be wrong, there is fault on both sides, but the horific and disproportionate response by Israel will just exaserpate the situation, creating more hatred and more inevitably more terrorism.
The difficult question is, does Israel really NOT understand this increased hatred is the inevitable consequence, or is there a desire by the Israelis political class to see the fight carry on? is it possible these people could order the killing of hundreds of people people just so they can appear on tv claiming victory knowing they have put back any peace processs yet again?
has israeli politics decended to the level of the terrorists it says it so dispises?
Ajj and Richard,
I would agree wholeheartedy with your analsis here. It’s amazing that, in this day and age, the best deal of its type that can be cobbled together is the one about to come before us. There again, should this really be anything of a surprise? All those preceeding it have exhibited the same tentative maneuvering and lack of resolve. This one seems no different.
So, one more flashpoint in the Middle East has almost completed its cycle and now this curious cease-fire sits waiting in the wings, ready to dampen down the conflagration to the point where everybody can survey the results and give them their due consideration.
How often has this scenario repeated itself over the years? Too many, of course. And there’s nothing to prevent it happening all over again once the dust has finally settled. These clashes – and cease-fires – only contribute to a further poisoning of the soil, a soil now so contaminated by bloodshed that whatever emerges from it is unable to reverse the damage done; most likely it can only degrade and diminish still further an already much depleted habitat.
Perhaps the time has come for the soil to rebel against such treatment, for the very land itself to take on a more active, a more aggressive role at the prospect of its own worsening condition.
Strange would it be, indeed, to realise that an effective termination of this conflict may rest solely on our willingness to do the math, a task the smallest schoolboy or schoolgirl might accomplish with consummate ease.
“The difficult question is, does Israel really NOT understand this increased hatred is the inevitable consequence, or is there a desire by the Israelis political class to see the fight carry on?”
If this is a difficult question, it is one with a simple answer.
We cannot continue year and year, decade after decade, to argue the benefits of this or that “peace plan”, or this or that strategy. It is obvious to anyone with a rational mind that Israel is intent on eliminating the Palestinians. Whether they die in battle or from starvation and illness, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that they don’t exist any more.
Clearly if the polls are correct that 80% of the Israeli population supports the current assault (and I have to say the number shocks me) than there is no real resistance in Israel. The world stands by.
I have become firmly in the camp of “Boycott, Divest, Sanction”. Whether it will work or not, I am not very optimistic.
Derek Wall says
however there are some very dynamic and brave peace camapaigns in Israel like Gush Shalom.
emman chehade randazzo says
Gush Shalom, B’tselem, etc. However when 80% of Israeli citizens support this massacre, I’m shocked and dismayed. This idiotic ceasefire is just another prerequisite for another hell soon to be started by the Israeli military in this near future. My heart is broken for the innocents who were viciously murdered in Gaza…the babies, the children, the pregnant mothers.
Richard Witty says
The question is still to Hamas, as it was when it chose to escalate rather than to restore the cease-fire three weeks ago.
If its objective is defined as the elimination of Israel, or the implementation of a single-state solution with the right of return, then it remains at war with Israel.
If its objective is defined as 67 borders, then it has the same objective as Fatah and should reconcile, renounce its coup, participate in consenting elections and continuity of treaty and administration. 67 borders (with the exception of the Jewish portion of the old city) are negotiable, especially if the Arab League puts its full weight into all the elements of its commitment, AND if Palestine accepts Jews within its borders as Palestinian citizens (not Israeli, but populated by those former settlers that can finance perfection of land title and willingly become Palestinian citizens).
Absent those two features, then the two-state AND the single-state democratic solution is dead, and ONLY full annexation of the West Bank by Israel will occur.
If Hamas considers its dominance of Gaza as more important than unifying with Fatah for a viable Palestine within 67 borders, then a Pakistan/Bengladesh division will be likely, Gaza will have to declare itself an independant state and it will walk a much trickier knife-edge than it has in the last month. (Which if failed at miserably, politically, morally, militarily).
John Yorke says
I think I would give some support to the “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” approach that Ellen advocates.
The first two directives, however, would appear to involve economic moves, presumably in opposition to Israeli interests. These may, indeed, have an effect but it would necessarily be a long-term one; difficult to maintain, I suspect, over the length of time that would be needed.
“Sanctions,” on the other hand, might well be capable of more immediacy and carry with them an impact far greater than anything else. The ultimate ‘sanction’ here would be to hold a gun to everyone’s head and let the situation progress from there. Since the advent of this happening seems somewhat remote, options in this regard must give way to those of a lesser severity. I would classify my own take on the matter as only marginally below that of the aforementioned arrangement. In such a situation, minds would be concentrated wonderfully, aggressive action undertaken only with the utmost care and after infinite consideration. Needless to say, these are conditions in which the sort of conflict currently in vogue between Palestinians and Israelis would suffer very badly. Indeed, I fail to see how it could be carried on at all: the risks in doing so would be almost too immeasurable to contemplate on either side.
Still, not quite the end of the story, I suppose. But, in the process, a long chapter would have been brought to a close and the prospects for opening a new one greatly enhanced.
Witty. Read the Israeli MFA report.
They concede that Hamas was ‘careful’ to maintain the cease-fire.
They concede that the sporadic rocket fire that took place during the lull was carried out by OTHER groups in defiance of Hamas.
They concede the cease-fire was working. That there was ‘quiet’. From June 19th to Nov. 4th – the cease-fire WORKED FINE.
Hamas kept their end of the bargain.
What were the demands?
Hamas to end the rockets. They virtually did – except for groups acting independently in defiance.
Israel to ease the blockade. THEY DID NOT.
First of all, the demands on Hamas are quite definitive. END the rockets. Whereas with Israel the word is EASE. EASE the blockade.
So EASE being subjective. Who determines whether Israel carried out their end of the bargain?
Israel does, because they DON’T LISTEN TO THE RED CROSS OR THE UN.
Israel bombed the tunnels in Gaza on the 4th of November. Israel then killed 6 Palestinian militants.
They GOADED Hamas into reacting.
When you weigh the effect of these crude rockets – 15 people dead in 8 years…
The effect of the blockade imposed on 1.5 million Palestinians = HUMANITARIAN CRISIS; WORLD’S LARGEST CONCENTRATION CAMP
Then, it puts some context on WHY Israel went into Gaza.
It’s not for fucking security. It’s not to stop the rockets. It’s not for anything other than an excuse to squash any form of Palestinian resistance. They did this to the secular PLO and now they are doing it to Hamas.
This is not about terrorism. It’s never about terrorism. Terrorism is just an EXCUSE, just a PRETEXT for Israel to carry out WHATEVER military operation in order to silence Palestinian dissent and brutally quell any resistance.
FUCK you Witty. You are not this stupid. You know this and yet you spew your garbage on Phil’s blog and now Richard’s.
People like you will tow the establishment lies and whitewash everything Israel does. FUCK you.