Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 24 hour extension of the ceasefire.
Posts Tagged ‘Cairo’
Israel’s Channel 2 reported Monday evening that the cease-fire with Palestinian Arab terror factions in Gaza has been extended, although it is not yet clear for how long.
This morning the IDF predicted that rockets would be falling this evening.
Israeli Air Force jets were flying overhead in a southerly direction as Arab media sources also reported a “breakthrough” in the indirect cease-fire talks in Cairo, less than four hours before the current cease-fire was due to expire.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned earlier in the day that Israel “is ready for all scenarios and will respond with force if the rocket fire resumes.”
At a meeting in Ashdod with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Netanyahu said, “The eternal people are not afraid of a long road. The combination of endurance and strength will help us achieve the goal of this operation; peace and security for all of Israel’s citizens.”
Ya’alon added that Operation Protective Edge had not yet ended, warning, “As we have promised, we are not stopping [this operation] until we have achieved peace and security… Hamas will not drag us into a war of attrition,” he vowed. “If it tries, it will find itself facing one of its own.”
Arab sources in Gaza, meanwhile, reported an increase in ‘air traffic’ over the enclave. It is expected that an announcement regarding an extension of the cease-fire — or the lack of an agreement — will be made by 11 pm local time.
IDF Southern Command believes that the rockets and mortars will begin again tonight, hours before the ceasefire is set to end.
This is based on political assessments that the negotiations with the Hamas terror organization are not moving forward.
The IDF is raising internal preparedness of the IAF and intelligence units, and they are preparing for rockets and retaliations.
No additional warning levels or instructions have been raised for citizens, with the exception of stopping train service between Ashkelon and Ashdod last time, until further notice.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Hamas terrorists Sunday not to underestimate Israel’s ability to hold out under any ‘war of attrition’ the group might attempt.
“We are in the midst of a combined military and diplomatic campaign,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s government cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
“From the first day, the Israeli delegation to Cairo has worked under clear instructions: Insist on the security needs of the State of Israel. Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings,” he said.
The comment came in response to the rejection by Hamas of an 11-point tentative plan reached Thursday in Cairo, in connection which Palestinian Arab representatives had expressed optimism.
That was before Hamas leaders had made the requisite pilgrimage to see politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, who is based comfortably in Qatar – not with his suffering brethren in Gaza – and who over the weekend with his Qatari handlers immediately nixed the deal.
Israeli officials had maintained silence about the plan throughout the weekend, other than to say that any deal must meet the security needs of the Jewish State.
On Saturday night, Hamas leaders returned to Gaza with bluster and brazen attitude, demanding the inclusion of two points that were turned down by Israel: construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza. Both would create an instant express route for the import of weaponry into the enclave, totally impractical from Israel’s security standpoint since Hamas has proved itself to be without honor and incapable of sticking to agreements or cease-fires for any length of time.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed the White House placed a ‘hold’ on an imminent delivery of Hellfire missiles that was due to arrive in Israel and issued an order to the Pentagon that future military transactions must be scrutinized directly by the State Department and the Oval Office.
The move emboldened Hamas and its backers, who might otherwise have reached the point of understanding that it was in the best interest of Gazans for Hamas to reach an agreement for quiet, if not peace, with Israel. Instead, the terrorist group decided it would prefer to continue its campaign of terror.
Late Saturday night, Hamas officials announced that Israel should prepare for a “long war of attrition” if the Jewish State is not willing to “meet all our demands.”
But that’s a mistake, Netanyahu said, despite the sporadic demonstrations that terrorists have seen on television protesting against the government’s handling of the conflict.
“In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow. We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air,” Netanyahu said.
“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken,” he warned. “If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken.
“As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.
“In the stormy and unstable Middle East in which we live, it is not enough that there be more strength, determination and patience are also necessary. Hamas knows that we are very strong but maybe it thinks that we do not have enough determination and patience, and here it is making a big mistake.”
Perhaps the “party” is over — but officials are not breaking out the colored balloons to celebrate just yet.
Hamas officials have gone to Qatar to consult with their handlers about the deal being discussed among the Palestinian Arab terror factions.
The draft of a detailed permanent cease-fire agreement was crafted in Cairo just before Israeli negotiators headed home for the Sabbath, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television and a report published in the Egyptian daily al-Shuruk newspaper, quoted by the Hebrew-language Ynet.
Meantime, both sides are maintaining a five-day cease-fire while indirect talks continue in Cairo, brokered by Egypt.
The bottom line is this:
Hamas, backed by Turkey and Qatar, is demanding that Israel lift the blockade imposed on the region after the terrorist group seized control over Gaza in 2007, and kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
It took more than five years and the release of more than 1,000 Arab terrorists in order to free Shalit, and Israel has seen two wars with Gaza since then — not including the present conflict.
According to the report, the centerpiece of the deal under discussion includes a total stop to construction of terrorist tunnels into Israel.
There will be no rocket, mortar and missile fire or any other terrorist attacks or activities against Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian Arab terror factions in Gaza.
In exchange, Israel has allegedly agreed to numerous concessions that will ease the blockade and assist with rebuilding the region.
Israel will ease the blockade by opening the crossings with Gaza. People and goods will be permitted to enter Gaza in order to rebuild the region, and Gazans will be allowed to export goods to Judea and Samaria, pending the establishment of regulations to be determined by Israel and the Palestinian Authority unity government.
Funding for the reconstruction of Gaza will be coordinated between Israel and the PA unity government.
Israel will cease all military activity in the enclave by land, sea or air. No ground troops will enter Gaza.
Moreover, the buffer zones along the security fence in northern and eastern Gaza will be eliminated in graduated steps and PA unity government forces will be deployed, beginning January 1, 2015.
The fishing zone is to be extended a total of 22 kilometers (12 miles) — immediately to 6 miles and then eventually to a full 12 miles — in coordination between Israel and the PA unity government.
The PA unity government — in coordination with Israel and international aid groups — will provide the basic items needed to rebuild Gaza according to a pre-set schedule designed to help those whose homes were in the combat zone to make a new start.
Israel will assist the PA unity government in rebuilding infrastructure in the region, and will help provide basic necessities for Gazans who had to leave their homes.
Israel will provide medical aid to the wounded and expedite transfer of humanitarian aid and foodstuffs via the crossings. To that end, Egypt also requests that the international community join in to provide swift assistance at the humanitarian and monetary level for Gaza’s reconstruction in accordance with a pre-set schedule.
Both sides will conclude indirect negotiations in Cairo within a month after signing the agreement, upon stabilization of the cease-fire and return to normal life in Gaza. Exchange of prisoners and bodies are to be discussed in Cairo at that time.
The issue of construction of a seaport and/or airport in Gaza are to be considered in accordance with the Oslo Accords and prior agreements.
An Israeli source told Channel 2, “Israel insists that any understandings reached must clearly serve Israel’s security interests.”
Gazans are beginning to voice their displeasure at Hamas for not stopping the war against Israel earlier, thus causing needless destruction and death in Gaza, according to a Makor Rishon report. But they are doing it carefully, so that Hamas doesn’t execute them too, as it did others who complained.
Gazans are upset that Hamas placed and fired rockets near their homes, causing their homes to be destroyed by the IDF, while those same rockets did minimal to no damage to Israel in return.
Hamaas could have accepted the cease fire when there were only 200 Gazans dead, one Gazan complained, but instead chose to continue to attack Israel, raising the number of dead to almost 2000.
Gazan sources are saying that Egypt plans to allow 5000 PA security forces into Gaza as part of the rehabilitation of Gaza and to handle the border crossings as well.
But some Gazans believe those same PA security forces may also be meant to help Gaza’s citizens resist and ultimately collapse Hamas.
The last time there were PA forces in Gaza was in 2007, when Hamas slaughtered the rival Fatah members, threw their bodies off rooftops, and just generally dismembered them as part of Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Qatar wants to transfer millions of dollars directly to Hamas.
Israel for its part won’t allow Qatari money to be delivered directly to Hamas, but rather it will go through a third party, be it a different Arab state such as Jordan or Egypt, or an international body.
One thing to watch with interest, is the possibly upcoming Palestinian Authority elections sometime within a year.
That’s where we’ll really see if the Gazans are actually upset with Hamas, or if it’s all talk.
Within the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, Hamas is rapidly growing in popularity.
Hamas attacked southern Israel with three rockets shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, ending the 72-hour cease-fire nearly three hours before its official end.
No one was injured.
Israel has not responded to the rocket fire, at least so far and may be waiting to see if Hamas is intent on launched round two of the war, or simply is letting Hamas play head games by not extending the cease-fire but and shooting three rockets just to prove it can do so.
The best scenario would be that Israel has spotted the rocket launching sites and will retaliate later this evening.
However, Hamas claims it did not fire the rockets, which makes the terrorist organization look even worse because if true, it proves, as it has often proven, that it does not control Gaza.
The Iron Dome anti-missile system shot down one rocket over Ashkelon, and two other rockets exploded in open areas in the area of Sderot, located approximately one mile – as the missile flies – from the Gaza border, and in the area south of Ashkelon.
The Palestinian Authority postponed a scheduled 9:30 p.m. press conference as truce talks in Cairo appear to have been nothing more than hot air that is about to blow up. President Obama spoke with Prime minister Netanyahu about the cease-fire during the afternoon, according to White House spokesman Ben Rhodes.
The IDF has called up reservists and extended the emergency “Tzav 8” orders so thousands of soldiers, some of whom were called up as long as a month ago.
After the original ceasefire began, the IDF pulled troops out of Gaza but redeployed thousands of troops along the Gaza border, from the north to the south, so that they can go into action immediately if need be.
However, hundreds of tanks and armored personnel carriers returned to their bases near Eilat and in the Golan. But enough remain near Gaza so that the IDF can retaliate.