A ceasefire at any cost

By Ted BelmanJune 20, 2008

As I write, the “ceasefire”, lull” or whatever has been in place for an hour, but what are its terms? Nobody is saying at least not exactly. All responsible ministers are not to be seen and they are hiding behind the back of Maj Gen (ret’d), Amos Gilad who negotiated the deal under their orders.

In his interview by YNET he had this to say,

“If Gilad Shalit is not released, Rafah crossing does not open,”

“I think the ceasefire is the only way we may be able to bring about Shalit’s release,”

“The idea is to try to focus our efforts on releasing the soldier. My feeling is that a ceasefire would promote the release. This was the policy declared by the cabinet and I spoke about this to the Egyptians. Shalit is part of the ceasefire agreement

These words are very conflicting. Either there are specific provisions or there are not. But Gilad says “we may be able” and “to try to focus our efforts” etc. Shalit’s father is threatening to sue the government for leaving his son out of the deal.

Rafah Crossing

“this is a complex and difficult issue. We must remember that the opening of the crossing would be a kind of de-facto recognition of a Hamas state, because it would constitute the organization’s first international border with Egypt.

“The opening of Rafah was an issue that came up during the agreement that was decided upon between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, the US, and the EU, which sent its inspectors. Thus this is a complicated process conditioned on progress being made in the Shalit deal.”

This is avoiding the issue. Nowhere does he mention the terms agreed to. Why not?  Why are we not entitled to read the agreement itself? Probably more holes through it then would be necessary to drive a truck through.

Rocket fire and smuggling

“We will not accept the firing of even one Qassam.

“Egypt, on its side, is committed to preventing the smuggling activity from Gaza. It’s simple; Egypt has a border with Gaza, through which weapons and terrorists are smuggled. Smuggling is a serious violation of the terms. Any such infraction will lead to a change in Israel’s stance from the way in which it was presented to the Egyptians,”

It appears that smuggling is only a “serious violation” but at least Egypt is committed to preventing it. Thank G-d. Everyone including Galid is exhibiting no confidence in the agreement which is another way of disowning it. So why is it being done? Why give Hamas international recognition for a deal that won’t last?

“In the end it comes down to a choice between options. If we had embarked on a military operation, we probably would have arrived at the same outcome; the ceasefire.”

Aye, there’s the rub. No hint of fighting for victory. Just another ceasefire like in Lebanon. So obviously, let’s avoid the fighting and go right to the ceasefire.

Now Haaretz raised some other issues. Israel Harel writes,

Israel will remove, within days, a significant portion of its economic blockade of the Gaza Strip. Hamas, in return, has promised to renew contacts on the release of Gilad Shalit. The Egyptians in response are promising to work harder to prevent arms smuggling.

But how do you measure honest efforts to advance the Shalit deal? Will intensive talks without a deal meet the conditions? It is not at all clear.

Not very encouraging.

Like Barak, Gilad believes that in the long run a confrontation with Hamas is almost inevitable, but then the cabinet can come to the nation with clean hands and say “we tried everything, now it is the IDF’s turn.”

What Gilad cannot say is that the choice of tahadiyeh was first and foremost a political one. From the moment Olmert and Barak reached the conclusion that they did not have public support or political breathing room for a large ground offensive in Gaza, the die was cast.

This is total BS. A very recent poll disclosed otherwise,

Most Israelis are against a cease-fire with Hamas if it does not include freeing kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, according to a poll released Thursday by the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents opposed an agreement without Schalit while 30% said they would support one.

The poll also found that 50% of Israelis would oppose a cease-fire even if it included the release of Schalit, who was captured two years ago in a cross-border raid.

Need I say more?

Senior officers in the IDF hold

Israel has not even attempted to try a long list of measured operations that are less than an conquest of the Gaza Strip, but if tried, might have forced Hamas to accept a cease-fire from a completely different position. Brigade-level operations in the strip were halted a long time ago, and no attempt has been made in recent times to threaten the lives of senior Hamas officials.

Bottom line, he says,

The present strategic goal is not peace, but quiet, even if only for a short time – until the elections.

Rocket fire and smuggling


June 20, 2008 | Comments »

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