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Monday, November 19, 2012

Cease Fire in Works for Israel?

Yesterday, Stratfor reported rumors of a possible cease fire and settlement for the current Israeli-Hamas fight, stating:


Contradictory rumors regarding the outcome of cease-fire negotiations between Hamas and Israel have increased dramatically in recent hours. A Hamas spokesman told Al Jazeera that Israel and Hamas have agreed to 90 percent of the terms of a new cease-fire. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is reportedly meeting the evening of Nov. 18 with a delegation led by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and another delegation led by Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shallah. While Israeli officials have told news outlets that the government is in talks with Cairo on a cease-fire, Israeli officials are now denying reports that an Israeli envoy actually traveled to Cairo Nov. 18 for cease-fire talks. Meanwhile, Turkey appears to be trying to integrate itself into the cease-fire talks with reported plans for Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to travel to Gaza on Nov. 20.
However, I'm not seeing anything through the major media outlets. I saw this France24 article linked at Drudge, and it indicates that Israel is pushing ahead with a possible ground offensive:

The Israeli army is ready to “significantly expand” its operation in Gaza, the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday as Hamas launched fresh rocket attacks on Tel Aviv.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said “The soldiers are ready for any activity that could take place”.

Netanyahu issued the warning as Israel’s “Iron Dome” system intercepted two rockets aimed at Tel Aviv. Hamas militants admitted responsibility for the latest rocket attack on Israel’s commercial capital.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry told FRANCE24 that a ground offensive into Gaza was likely if the rocket attacks continued.
The article goes on to report that further attacks this past night have hurt a possible truce. From the article:
The night of violence represents a blow to peace efforts, which have been lead by Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, who on Saturday said there were indications a truce could "soon" be reached.

. . . “It has really shattered the hopes that were raised on Saturday night when rumours came out of Cairo that a truce might be brokered between the two sides,” he continued. “Considering the night we have just had, it appears we are heading in the opposite direction.”

On Sunday, France also became involved in attempts to bring peace to the region with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius travelling to Israel to try and broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

During his one-day visit Fabius is due to meet with Israeli leaders as well as with the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, diplomatic sources told AFP.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will head to Cairo on Monday for talks with the president and other officials on the crisis in Gaza.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said in an interview with Britain's Sky News on Sunday he welcomed efforts by his Egyptian counterpart to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict but accused Hamas of rejecting the proposals. A delegation of ministers from the Arab League are due to visit the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in what a league official described as a “show of support for the territory”.
 Interestingly, an Arab newspaper claims that Iran was behind the conflict. The article claims Iran's motivation was to divert attention from Syria and support Syrian President Assad. However, it also distracts Israel from responding to Iran's nuclear weapons program.

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