Author: DR.ABDUL RUFF Colachal
Nuclear and the Islamist Palestinians (), once again, have agreed in principle on 18 June to a truce in and around the Gaza Strip, capping months of indirect talks brokered by . On 17 June Israeli officials have confirmed that Tel Aviv has approved a ceasefire to end months of bitter clashes with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza . Under the terms of the truce, which is set to begin on Thursday, Israel will ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip. Ceasefire begins at 0600 (0300 GMT) on 19 June and after 24 hours ceasefire begins and Israel eases crossing restrictions. An Israeli official said that talks to release an Israeli soldier held by Hamas would intensify, at the same time, Hamas, which controls Gaza , says it is confident that all militants will abide by the agreement.
Israel invaded Palestine 1947 and annexed the areas of their choice with US-UK support and occupies a lot more territories with illegal construction of settlements. Hamas, popularly elected by the Palestinians lost power because the Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority chief President Abbas, coerced by US-Israel leaders, dismissed the government and effected an emergency situation in Gaza by sending forces to Gaza Strip. Hamas then seized control of Gaza in June 2007, driving out forces loyal to Fatah, the political faction led by President Mahmoud Abbas. It seems Israel had expected to create two Palestinian tine states , Fatah and Hamas controlled ones respectively. But that conspiracy misfired. Since then, Israel , the Palestinian Authority and the international community have sought to isolate Hamas.
Israel wants the Palestinians to tolerate the Israeli genocide and destruction. Tel Aviv said on 18 June it accepted an Egyptian-brokered truce with Hamas Islamists ruling the Gaza Strip but voiced skepticism the ceasefire involving all Palestinian “militant” groups in the territory would hold. Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli defense official, said after returning from talks in Cairo that “an understanding” had been reached. Egypt and Hamas said a ceasefire would go into effect at 6 a.m. on 19 June. Gilad told Israeli stations that Israel was prepared to give a ceasefire a chance — while continuing preparations for possible military action should it fall apart.
Israel and Hamas did not negotiate face to face, but instead traded proposals through Egypt , a process the United States encouraged. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and Hamas does not recognize Israel ‘s existence. Israeli and Palestinian officials said that under the truce, the blockade Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip after Hamas seized the territory a year ago would be eased gradually and partially. A ceasefire would aim to end frequent rocket and mortar bomb attacks on Israel from the coastal enclave and Israeli raids and air strikes in the territory.
Hamas, which has said all Gaza factions had agreed to the deal, hopes a halt to hostilities will lead to the lifting of the economically crippling blockade. A truce could also give Hamas an opportunity to upgrade weaponry and train fighters.
The United States pressed for a truce to remove an obstacle in slow-moving peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Majority of Jews want to invade Palestine and kill every Palestinian there. A major military foray into the territory, however, is not a terribly palatable option. Many in Israel believe that all avenues must be explored before such a fateful step is taken.
Details of a truce that Hamas says it worked out with Israel , halting rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza and Israeli reprisal raids: The truce envisages that all Gaza-Israel violence stops. After three days, Israel eases its blockade on Gaza , allowing more vital supplies in. A week later, Israel further eases restrictions at cargo crossings. In the final stage, talks are conducted about opening the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt and a prisoner exchange to free Cpl. Gilad Schalit, held by Hamas-affiliated groups for two years.
According to a breakdown of the deal released by Hamas , Israel will ease its restrictions on Gaza crossings with Israel on Friday morning, followed by the bigger commercial crossings next week. After two weeks, talks will start involving Israel , Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the EU on reopening the Rafah crossing into Egypt . The decision to approve the ceasefire was made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, following the return of a defense official from Cairo , where he held talks with Egyptian mediators.
The truce would bring an end to Israeli provocative actions and rocket attacks from within Gaza and Israeli master to ease the humanitarian situation inside the Palestinian territory. However, there are still many obstacles to long- term peace, with both sides warning that the truce will collapse if it is violated.
The agreement would be implemented in phases, with Israel easing the year-old siege on Gaza if Hamas stops attacks, according to Egyptian and Israeli officials. Israel also may allow the opening of the Rafah crossing — between Gaza and Egypt — if there is progress on the release of captured Israeli soldier . The deal was first reported Tuesday afternoon by Egyptian state-run media and was confirmed by Hamas officials. Hamas leader issued a statement heralding progress toward stopping Israeli “aggression and ending the siege.”Israeli officials, some of whom would not speak for the record, said Israel ‘s special envoy, Amos Gilad, had been dispatched to Cairo on Tuesday afternoon to hammer out the final details.
Officials cautioned that the Gaza cease-fire, which is expected to begin as soon as possible is likely to be tenuous. Previous attempts to cease hostilities in and around Gaza have been short-lived. But it meets the immediate political needs of both sides. Israeli Prime Minister , facing calls for his resignation amid a corruption probe, has been under pressure to do something to help residents of southern Israel , who live under the constant threat of rocket fire. Hamas, meanwhile, has suffered high casualties during Israeli attacks and has been losing popularity in Gaza amid a crushing economic embargo.
Both the Israelis and the Palestinians of the Hamas have agreed to some form of truce or understanding to go into effect on Thursday. But what is it that has brought the various parties to this decision? And what are the chances of any truce holding? Israel alleges that the Hamas leadership wants a period of calm to consolidate itself and relieve the economic pressure on the Palestinian population. There is benefit too for the Egyptians, who have taken such a prominent role in working with the two sides. The government in Cairo also wants the pressure-cooker atmosphere in the Gaza Strip relaxed.
While the exact terminology to be used to describe the tacit arrangement between Israel and Hamas is unclear, the purpose of the discussions that have been underway with Egypt as intermediary, is self evident. Israel wants a halt to the rocket and mortar fire across its border from the Gaza Strip.
In the United Arab Emirates , Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said a lasting truce would be good for 1.5 million Palestinians who have suffered from the Israeli blockade. The Damascus-based leader also said any Israeli violation of the deal would not go unanswered. Meshaal said negotiations over Rafah would continue between Egypt, Hamas, Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Europeans, who had stationed monitors at the crossing. But he insisted that Shalit would not be released unless Israel freed Palestinian prisoners on a list compiled by Hamas.
Israel has allowed in humanitarian aid but has cut back on the supply of non-essential goods, such as construction materials, as well as fuel, saying Gazans could not expect to lead normal lives while Israelis were under rocket attack. Israeli officials said the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt — Gazans’ only gateway to the outside world that does not pass through Israel — was conditioned on a deal to free a captured Israeli soldier. Israel and Gaza Strip “militants” are to enter into a truce meant to halt militant rocket fire on southern Israel and ease a crushing Israeli economic blockade on the impoverished coastal territory.
Israel plays havoc with the lives of Palestinians through regular blockages and they know Palestinians are weak and anything could be done to them. Many Israelis are not only afraid of Hamas, but of Iran. They believe the threats uttered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – who recently described Israel as “a rotting corpse” – are genuine, not rhetorical. The retaliatory attacks which Hamas perpetrated against Israel citizens against Israeli state terrorism were atrocious and one is totally opposed to hurting unarmed people.”
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Olmert, said that after a few days of calm, there would be a “substantial increase” in the amount of supplies that Israel allows into the Gaza Strip. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said that in the first phase, imports into the territory would be set at approximately one-third of the level before the Hamas takeover. If the truce holds, that percentage will grow gradually. Mekel said, “We expect the negotiations on Gilad Shalit to resume in the near future”
An Israeli government spokesman said it wanted the ceasefire to succeed. An Israeli security source told Israel Radio that negotiations on the return of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit were expected to resume with a few days. He said that if progress was achieved, Israel would have to reach a decision regarding the release of Palestinian prisoners. As part of the deal, Egypt has also committed to stop the smuggling of arms and weapons from its territory into Gaza , Israeli officials said.
“Obviously, if this is going to be successful, we’ll need more than words. We’ll need deeds,” said , spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Israel ‘s interior minister and member of its security cabinet Sheetrit said he was “very skeptical” that Hamas could enforce a complete ceasefire among the militant groups. “The idea is a complete ceasefire — no fire from anyone … if there is any violation of the agreement, the government is free to return to act with full force”.
Since Hamas took exclusive control of Gaza last June, there has been a significant escalation in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel to defend Hamas themselves from Israeli aggression. Israel has waged a near-daily campaign of attacks against gunmen from Hamas and other “militant” groups. Many Palestinian civilians have been killed in those strikes, including dozens during a single week this spring.
For Hamas, the ceasefire agreement is an acknowledgement that Israel ‘s economic blockade of Gaza is hurting its own administration and is having a huge detrimental impact on Gaza ‘s population.
The exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus said a long-term peace depends on Israel ending its occupation of the West Bank, withdrawing from settlements, ending incursions into Gaza and opening the crossing points into the strip to enable trade and aid. Though its charter defines its objective as liberating the whole of the pre-1948 territory of Palestine, Hamas also says it would accept a two-state solution based on the boundaries that were in place before the 1967 war.
Inevitable confrontation has been the order of the region since Israeli forces continue to refuse to vacate Palestinian lands being occupied by Israel. Of course there is more here than just a halt to the fighting. Hamas wants entry and exit points into the Gaza Strip opened. Israel wants the return of its captured soldier Gilad Shalit. And it also expects the Egyptians to make a real effort to halt the smuggling of weaponry into the Gaza Strip.
Some analysts fear that – truce or no truce – Israel and Hamas are on a collision course and that this is simply a necessary lull before an inevitable military confrontation. Everything now depends upon Israel and USA and on implementation. Can Hamas prevail on other more radical Palestinian groups to halt their fire into Israel? Can USA stop supplyng weapons to Israel? And will Israels top aggressions and illegal construction actiltives? if Israel sees Hamas bolstering its illegal fortifications and arsenal will it refrain from taking action by invading Palesitne with killing innocnet Palestinians?
Despite the impending truce, violence continued, with Israel killing six Palestinians in Gaza. The Israeli attacks followed days of heavy rocket fire from Gaza, and four more rockets were launched after the Israeli strikes. In Sderot, an Israeli town that borders Gaza and that has borne a large share of the rocket fire, there was relief. “We have been waiting for quiet for a long time, many believe that the agreement will bring many smiles to the faces of the people in this town.” someone said.
Anti-Arab and anti-Islamic fundamentalist Israelis, as expected, condemned the truce. Not everyone in Israel was so sanguine. “This is a great victory for Hamas and , and it’s a great failure on behalf of Israel ,” said Yuval Steinitz, a leading member of the opposition , which favors an invasion of Gaza aimed at dismantling Hamas. “This is going to be extremely costly, because when we have to act in Gaza , Hamas’s capability will be much stronger than it is today.” Arrogance is revealed in each _expression of these Israelis who think Israel is strong enough to attack any Arab nation and destroy.
Cancer of occupation’
Unlike India where not even a single Hindu talks about Indian terrorist occupation of Jammu Kashmir since 1947, there are a quite a few Jews who state that Israel has been illegally occupying Palestinian lands. At the opposite end of the Israeli political spectrum, Victoria Buch – a professor of chemistry and an anti-occupation activist – believes Israel “should negotiate with Hamas”.
A Jewish philosopher, Yeshayahu Leibovitch, who opposed holding onto Palestinian land after the 1967 war. He said the occupation was a cancer which would eventually destroy the state of Israel. About 400 Israeli families lost loved ones in a decade of Hamas suicide bomb attacks, on buses, in markets, at the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv. Victoria Buch is adamantly opposed to such violence.
Both genuine peace seekers in Palestine and Israel look beyond Gaza truce. Many rich Israelis, however, say that there should be a pre-emptive strike against Iran. Israel and USA work on threat perceptions to invade Islamic nations inspired by a Jewish thinker, who advised: “Whoever rises up against you to kill you, you go head first and kill him.” Many perished in the Holocaust, but they had ample time to leave Europe when Hitler rose to power. Had they done that – and not chosen to listen to people who didn’t believe the menace was there – they might have survived.” He said he was not prepared to “repeat their gullibility”.
Of course many believe that “starting wars” is not the way to eradicate the threat from Iran. Quite the opposite; bellicose Israeli statements about stopping the Iranian nuclear program by whatever means are “making sure that the future of Jews in this country is in danger”.
Israel had publicly contemplated launching a wide-scale invasion of Gaza aimed at ousting Hamas. Olmert and his top aides ultimately decided against it, out of concern that the Israeli military would get bogged down in an unwinnable counterinsurgency campaign. But a senior Israeli official said on 16 June the option remains on the table. “If this breaks down, there will not be another attempt at a cease-fire. There will be a large-scale Israeli operation,” the official said. “This has to hold.”
It seems it is too early to confess that Egypt has successfully mediated a truce between Israel and the militant and political Islamic movement Hamas. USA and Israel and their allies must give up their favorite _expressions like militants and terrorists to describe the Palestinian (and Lebanese) patriots who have been struggling to get back their lands and sovereignty and decide their own future and destiny. After all it is Israel that is directly responsible for the fate of Palestinians now.
Gong by the reports available in media, Israel is trying its hand on peace making efforts with Syria and Lebanon along slide the talks with the Hamas and Fatah. The deal demonstrated Hamas’s staying power as the ruler of Gaza and Israel’s willingness to reach accommodation with groups it has labeled terrorist organizations. In recent weeks it has intensified negotiations with movement over a possible prisoner transfer and begun indirect peace talks with Syria.
The new truce was scheduled to begin on 19 June. Previous cease-fires in Gaza have failed. In late 2006, Israel reached a deal with the , but the truce was short-lived. This one could be, too. A high-ranking Israeli military official told a parliamentary committee Tuesday that any truce with Hamas was likely to be “temporary and fragile,” according to people familiar with his statements.
Israel could begin allowing more supplies into Gaza as early as Sunday, the 23 June. Hamas had initially lobbied for the truce to apply to both Gaza and the West Bank, but Israel balked at that idea and limited negotiations to Gaza.
Israel must henceforth stop collecting taxes form Palestine so as to use them as tool to coerce the innocent Palestinians.