Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The truce and other fables

So finally a truce (tardiyeh or calm) has been arrived at by Israel and Hamas in Gaza through Egyptian mediation due to start Thursday at 6 am. However, in order to achieve it, Israel gave way on several points, first, the release of Cpl. Schalit is not a condition of the truce but will be discussed later. Second, after the shelling from Gaza stops (and hopefully all terrorist groups will honor the truce) and Israel stops attacking Gaza (note that 5 Hamas terrorists were killed yesterday) then Israel will open all border crossings into Gaza for all goods and the blockade will end. Then the entry between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah will be opened with Israeli cooperation. Finally, even though Israel wanted to include an important point about stopping the smuggling of arms from Egypt into Gaza, this is now left entirely to the Egyptians.
So while Israel gets a temporary cessation of rockets, Hamas gets everything they wanted. Well, at least the residents of Sderot and surroundings will be relieved. But, after a period of time (6 months) then the whole thing will start all over again, and this time Hamas will have managed to smuggle long range missiles into Gaza. Nice prospect.
Negotiations are also underway between Israel and Hizbollah thru Red Cross and German mediation to release the two kidnapped soldiers, Regev and Goldwasser. Hizbollah wants all Lebanese prisoners in return, that isn't a problem except for Kuntar, who murdered a child in front of its parents and then killed them in Nahariya in the 1980s. He is a cold blooded killer and should never be released. The catch is that Hizbollah has not released any information to prove that the two Israelis are still alive. So the question is asked why should Israel release live prisoners for possibly dead soldiers. Only the incompetent Govt. of PM Olmert could answer this. Israel may also retreat on the Shaba farms area, and give it up to Lebanese sovereignty in exchange for a commitment of Hizbollah to cease military attacks against Israel (good luck with this one)
Concurrently, Israel is negotiating with Syria thru Turkish mediation. Why now, why has Bashar Assad given his assent to this process? Maybe he feels isolated, or he and Hamas have been given the word that their source of richesse and rockets, Iran, is soon going to be partially destroyed because they will not give up their pursuit of nuclear weapons and because they continue to threaten to destroy Israel and the West. The US cannot accept this, and so not only are there severe sanctions in the works, there are also counter-threats. If you were Syria and Hamas and knew that something very bad was going to happen to your godfather, maybe you too would seek a way out. But, on the other hand this may be wishful thinking.
On the other hand, the explanation for all these negotiations may be that Olmert is imminently going to be charged with corruption and this may be his way to try to distract attention and win support.


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