Monday, December 24, 2007

Hamas - Israel: Dialogue?

There has been recent rumors stemming from Hamas leadership indicating that Hamas is willing to broker a cease fire with Israel. This is not the first time that Hamas says one thing, and does something else. [This is a very common behavior in the Middle East, a region filled with censorship - resulting in the inability of populations worldwide to recognize this deceitful behavior]

Still, Israel should consider the offer in all seriousness - and consider the implications and requirements of such a cease fire agreement.

As such, Barak recently met with the Egyptians, and the following are the guidelines of the agreement (courtesy of Debka):

1. Hamas will suspend its missile and mortar fire on Israeli communities across the border and make its allies comply with the ceasefire.

2. Israel must give the US and Egypt guarantees for the cancellation of its planned major ground offensive against Gaza and halt the IDF’s 2-3 km penetrations and the targeting of terrorist chiefs and missile crews.

3. Egypt will invite a US military force, including engineering teams, to deploy along the Gaza-Egyptian border for a joint operation to end smuggling from Sinai.

4. Gilead Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped last year, will be freed in exchange for jailed Palestinian terrorists whose number is still in negotiation.

5. If the deal holds up for three months, the US and Israel will not object to the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas opening a dialogue for a Palestinian national unity government.


This agreement could be a major breakthrough for Israel's core interests;
1) Peace and quiet - no more rocket attacks
2) Secure the release of Gilad Shalit
3) US and Egypt work together to block arms smuggling

For the Palestinians, they will save themselves the horror of another military operation and incurstion - essentially, loss of life, loss of weaponry, loss of stability. Also, this agreement (if implemented) could pave way for the re-engagement of the PLO and Hamas.

I personally think the deal makes a lot of sense for both parties, but unfortunately, the realist in me senses a hidden agenda on Hamas' part.
I still see Iran playing strings - including manipulation of Hamas' Public Relations.

As always... only time will tell in this dynamic region of....


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