Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Israel Halts Airstrikes As Truce Takes Fragile Hold

This is very shaky. PM Netanyahu is receiving a lot of criticism for this move but it seems obvious that this is a political strategy. The odds of this holding (based on the past 63 years) is about zero. Netanyahu knows this. Now, he can say that he tried everything for peace yet the missiles kept coming in, despite this so-called truce. If he were to go in now, he would receive a lot more international criticism. If he waits until this one is broken, as it will be, he (theoretically) won't receive nearly the same condemnation. 

Netanyahu, Barak and Liberman praise the army and the resilience of the public; Palestinians celebrate in Gaza; earlier, 21 injured in TA bus bombing; a total of 1,506 rockets fired on Israel since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, 3.8% land in populated areas; Iron Dome has 84% success rate, intercepting 421 rockets

Operation Pillar of Defense has been halted deep in its eighth day, with a fragile ceasefire deal negotiated in Cairo. The Times of Israel is live-blogging developments. Refresh for latest updates.

Rockets fired from Gaza continued to land in Israel on Wednesday night following the commencement of the US-Egyptian brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Some "Code Red" sirens sounding in the South appear to be set off by celebratory rocket fire in Gaza, Channel 2 News reported. Israel Radio reported that some 20 rockets were fired from Gaza since the announcement of the cease-fire.

Four IDF soldiers were lightly injured after a mortar shell exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council area Wednesday evening. The IDF announced hours after the incident that a reserve officer was critically injured in the attack as well.
They were evacuated to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday evening and asked him to agree to abide by a ceasefire with Hamas. Netanyahu gave his consent.
The terms of the ceasefire are not yet known in full but a partial text has been published

Prime Minister Netanyahu's office confirmed the news earlier Wednesday evening, but its statement leaves room for the use of greater force if Hamas fails to abide by the terms of the ceasefire.

"A short while ago Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with (US) President Barack Obama and agreed to his recommendation to give a chance to an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and thereby give an opportunity for the stabilize and calm the situation before there is a need to use greater force. 

The White House also issued a statement: "The president commended the prime minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which the president recommended the prime minster do, while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself," the White House said.

Demonstrators in Israel's South called on Netanyahu not to agree to a ceasefire, but to restore deterrence and security. A Channel 2 political analyst noted that the demonstrators are largely Likud voters and said Netanyahu will have a problem with these voters if he agrees to a ceasefire at present.

Two rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards the Israeli border on Wednesday evening, a Lebanese security official told AFP.

"Two rockets were fired, one fell in what was clearly Lebanese territory, the other went towards Israel," the official said on condition of anonymity.
It was not immediately clear where the second rocket fell.
The official said that terrorists based in Lebanon launch rockets at Israel “every time there is an aggression against Gaza.”

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged on Monday the Lebanese Shiite group's support for Hamas terrorists in Gaza in light of Operation Pillar of Defense, insisting it was unaffected by differences over the conflict in Syria.

The most damaging was Israel’s consent for Egypt to act as truce monitor and arbitrator between itself and Hamas and the address for complaints of violations, misunderstandings and broker of future negotiations to follow the ceasefire for regulating future relations.

By deferring to Egypt’s superior authority, Israel let itself be demoted to an equal footing with Hamas, a group listed as a terrorist organization in the US and Europe and dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state.

In some respects, Israel might have been better served by direct talks with Hamas itself rather than placing its strategic policy on two borders in the hands of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
Israel has gained substantially less than Defense Minister Barak claimed from the eight-day air operation launched to rescue southern Israel from the 12-year old Palestinian missile war waged from Gaza .

Hamas undoubtedly took a heavy beating and devastating damage to its command and control, military infrastructure, arms manufacturing and arsenal. But its 15,000-strong militia remains largely intact after losing 50 men and can be reconstituted. In any case, Operation Pillar of Cloud was not meant to be a military contest between the IDF and the Hamas military wing. What it finally boiled down to was a duel between the Iranian weapons wielded by Hamas and Jihad Islami and Israel’s Iron Dome missile interceptor.
Iron Dome came out of the ordeal the unchallenged victor.
With that success in hand, Israel had no need to get into negotiations with Hamas and Jihad Islami over a ceasefire, which neither of the two organizations is expected to honor. A unilateral ceasefire declaration from Jerusalem would have been enough. And in fact two hours after the ceasefire went into effect, Hamas had fired some 12 rockets against Israel. Schools in the south will remain closed Thursday.


WVBORN56 said...

Bibi, crazy like a Fox! :)

Dylan said...

Hardly a ceasefire, Hamas still firing rockets.

David said...

Scott, So has Hamas violated the cease fire agreement already, even though they never honored it to begin with? I'm confused. Does Israel now attack with more force? Or were they the only one who was supposed to cease? How do you agree to a cease fire and never stop firing? Hamas leaders shaking hands at the negotiating table with one hand and with the other giving signals to shoot. Let me think, will this work? Hmmm what's the word, um, I'm thinking.............NO! Let the ground war begin!

Scott said...

It looks like there is some unspoken 'grace period' of a brief period immediately following these treaties. My guess is, if the rockets continue beyond 24 hours, Israel will 'invade'. We'll see. Hamas is already claiming victory as they always do.

I heard an interesting theory on Fox Radio - and that was the idea that Israel was taking out Hamas missile launching capabilities in preparation before attacking Iran (anticipating rockets coming in in retaliation of an Iranian invasion)...

Interesting theory. We'll see