Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fresh Gaza Hostilities Likely Wednesday, Hamas Says Truce Would Only Be To Plan Next War

The seventh truce in the ongoing Israel-Hamas passage of arms is generally expected to end Wednesday night Aug. 13, with a fresh outbreak of hostilities triggered by resumed Hamas rocket fire. The indirect Egyptian-brokered talks between the parties in Cairo have never got off the ground. From the start, all three realized that the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians were unbridgeable and, moreover, that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were totally at odds on a common negotiating stance.

Egyptian intelligence mediators presented separate papers to the Israelis and Palestinians, knowing - as they acknowledged informally - that the two papers were miles apart.

Egyptian mediators were in no hurry to push for results and, in fact, appeared fairly unconcerned by the prospect of hostilities resuming in a day or two.

This indifference was also noticeable at the joint news conference addressed by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and President Vladimir Putin at the Russian resort of Sochi, Tuesday, when neither made any reference to the Gaza conflict.

Washington sources report that the US tried interceding with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and also with Israel and Egypt, to persuade them to accept another extension of the three-day truce. This effort fell on deaf ears because the Obama administration has not carved out a role or gained levers of influence in the Gaza conflict.

The one thing that can avert a fresh outbreak of violence Wednesday night is a declaration by Hamas’ military wing, Ezz e-Din al-Qassam, unconditionally halting further rocket fire and other aggressive activity.

Israel is not holding its breath for this to happen. Our military sources say that Israel’s government and military leaders are ready for the next stage of the confrontation with Hamas. This time, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon are preparing action a lot tougher than limited air strikes in response to Palestinian rocket fire of any intensity. They know that public patience has run out and will no longer tolerate a return to the situation that leaves Hamas holding the initiative to shoot rockets or not.
Not only the public, but the army too will no longer put off with half-measures and is ready to fight Hamas until it is no longer capable of harassing Israel with threats of violence.    

Even as Israeli representatives are in Cairo to discuss a truce with Hamas on Tuesday, the terrorist group is taking pains to clarify it has no intentions of desisting from trying to wipe Israel off the map.
Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades, released a statement presenting its position on the ongoing talks in Egypt.

"The warriors in Gaza are waiting with Allah's help to renew the fighting, or to return to planning the next campaign. There's no escape. Either jihad or planning (for the next jihad)," declared the statement.

The remarks leave no doubts that even in the case of a truce, from Hamas's perspective the lull in fighting would only be an opportunity to rearm for the next terror war on the Jewish state. This facet is particularly concerning in light of reports of Israel agreeing to finance Hamas's officials in Gaza as part of an agreement.

Slamming this proposal, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) stated Monday "this is political protection money: you pay us, then we'll shoot you later; you don't pay us, then we'll shoot you right now. ...It is impossible to fight our enemy with one hand and to fund it with the other."
Further demonstrating how Hamas appears to view the talks as a chance for financial gains and to prepare for the next round of fighting is analysis suggesting that Hamas agreed to the current 72-hour ceasefire, which began on Sunday night at 12 a.m., as a means to gain Saudi and UAE funds.

Another senior official from the PA delegation told Walla! that there are estimations that the current ceasefire may be extended by an additional 72-hour period. 
Revealing Hamas's position on the talks, the official commented "I'm still not sure that there's a decision by Hamas to end this war."
"There's a great disagreement now between the Hamas leadership in Qatar headed by Khaled Mashaal, and between the senior members of the organization in Gaza. Doha (Qatar's capital - ed.) is urging Mashaal all the time not to agree to Egypt as an intermediary," disclosed the official.

The Gaza branch of Hamas also seems to hold enmity towards Egypt; just this week a senior Hamas leader, Mustafa Sawaf, urged the Palestinian Arab negotiating team to reject Egypt as an intermediary and find another third-party country to help Hamas realize its demands.

Two people were killed and eight wounded after a 5.1 magnitudeearthquake struck outside Ecuador's capital of Quito on Tuesday night.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 4.8 miles (7.7 km) deep, with its epicenter located 14 miles northeast of Quito.

Update 21:56 UTC : The number of injured people has increased to 18 – the 3th fatality hasn’t been confirmed officially so far
Update 21:55 UTC : People in Quito are mentioning a new aftershock
Update 21:46 UTC : people in Quito are telling that a layer of dust is covering the city (coming from the ground shaking in the hills)
Update 21:44 UTC : A third person is reported killed when he was buried by the ground when he was working in an excavation
Update 21:42 UTC : The Catequilla mine looks not to be a mine but a quarry, which gives more sense to th combination of landslides and victims. Some buildings in Quite show cracked walls. Many landslides around the city (in the hills and along roads). Many roads are closed for traffic.

Update 21:26 UTC : Still in the Catequilla mine, new reports are talking about 4 people trapped (unclear whether it is in a mine or house) and 8 people injured.
Update 21:16 UTC : at least 2 people killed by landslides in a mine in Catequilla close to the Middle of the World or Equator, Mitad del Mundo as many people will know it.
Update 21:13 UTC : There are 90,000 people living in a radius of only 10 km around the 5 km hypocenter!
Update 21:04 UTC : All Quito tunnels were closed for traffic.
Update 20:59 UTC : The Quito International airport was evacuated after the shaking (see image below). IGecuador told newspapers that the epicenter was in #Collas, East of Calderón, Quito

Update 20:46 UTC : Multiple landslides are reported in the Quito area. We are especially scared for these landslides as poor people have often build their houses agains steep hills , which in case of a landslide can be extremely dangerous.

Update 20:40 UTC : IG Ecuador reports that the Magnitude was measured as 5.2 at a depth of 5 km. 4 minutes later an M4.3 aftershock occurred in the same area.
Update 20:33 UTC : The epicenter of the earthquake seems to be located a little North West of the new Quito Airport. This area is definitely not a volcanic area. There are some volcanoes in the direct vicinity of Quito, but not at this particular location.

No comments: