Sunday, 18 January 2009

Unilateral Ceasefire in Gaza

Article can be found here.

Israel has declared a unilateral ceasefire. The terms are that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will halt offensives against Hamas, but its troops will still remain in Gaza. If Hamas breaks the ceasefire, then Israel will "continue to defend itself" and relaunch its stinging offensive against Hamas.

I think that this is a very smart move on Israel. They have been condemned (myself included) for reacting unfairly to Hamas' rocket attacks. They have struck any and all targets suspected of harboring Hamas militants, even if the targets were UN-controlled facilities. I have a feeling that Hamas (for some reason unfathomable to a reasonable man) will continue to launch its rockets against Israel. None of Hamas' terms were met, which are that Israel halts all attacks and leaves Gaza immediately, and to lift the blockade on Gaza's borders. Israel will only pull out if all tunnels to and from Egypt (where Hamas gets their military hardware) are closed and closely monitored.

The ceasefire required the help of Egypt, because it is through Egypt's porous borders that Hamas gets their equipment. The United States have agreed to provide surveillance and detection equipment for the monitoring of the borders. A snag in the ceasefire is that Egypt has refused to be bound by the USA-Israeli agreement on the ceasefire. Egypt's agreement is vital.

The next few days will be interesting. For the sake of the Palestinian civilians (and for the Middle East), I sincerely hope Hamas will respect this ceasefire, and use the lull to collect and pay proper respects to the Palestinian dead.


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