Friday, January 16, 2009

Israel to Sign Ceasefire Deal with Egypt and U.S.
Not with Hamas

That's right. You read the headline correctly.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Cabinet will tomorrow decide whether to call a unilateral cease file after signing agreements withe U.S. and Egypt to step up aid in stopping Hamas arms smuggling into Gaza. According to the Post, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert prefers not sign any deal with Hamas so as not give it legitimacy.

Thoughts:

1) Isn't this partly how we got into this mess to begin with? - by unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza without any coordination or any agreements with the PA, because Sharon didn't want to give them legitimacy?

2) If all we wanted was this agreement, why not have stopped the war after two days? Surely we had "taught Hamas a lesson" by then.

3) Is this "refusing to talk to Hamas so as not to give them legitimacy" just like the Arab states, from 1948 through the early 1970s, who refused to talk to Israel so as not give it legitimacy. (Henry Kissinger had to engage in shuttle diplomacy because the Arabs would not meet directly with Israelis. Arab diplomats used to walk out, if an Israeli diplomat entered the room.) The Arabs, of those days, looked petty, spiteful, and self destructively stubborn.

4) Here is the cease fire deal Hamas was proposing and Israel seems to prefer to ignore. It did not even see fit to offer counter proposals.
a. Immediate Reciprocal Cease Fire - to last 1 year with options to renew.
b. Immediate influx of humanitarian aid into Gaza
c. All Isreali troops to exit Gaza within 1 week.
d. Borders at Rafah to open again with joint Egyptian, Turkish, and PA control of the crossing points (letting the PA back in is a significant concession by Hamas)
e. Ending the Israeli embargo of commercial goods on Gaza
5) Wouldn't it be a GOOD thing to get Hamas to sign agreements with Israel. As much as it shows Israel acknowledging Hamas it shows Hamas acknowledging Israel. Isn't one year, at least, of quiet better than the crap shoot Israel's alternate idea will produce. Isn't it better to get Hamas incrementally to agree to deals with Israel. It may become habit forming.

6) The approach the Israeli cabinet is considering does nothing to defuse the situation in Gaza. It does nothing to remove the motivation for confronting Israel. It leaves the embargo in place, and deliberately humiliates the enemy. The cabinet seems to think it can win by force alone.

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