Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ceasefire or Precipitate Fire

Yediot Aharonot published a Report: Egypt to mediate ceasefire between Israel, Hamas.

The question, in the event there is an agreement, is whether it would be a permanent ceasefire, entailing the disarming of Hamas terrorists, or simply another opportunity for Arab terrorists to rearm and build up their capabilities to murder Israelis without interference.

"Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem revealed Wednesday that Egypt has decided to take an active role in stopping Hamas from gaining more power in Gaza Strip.

"Cairo, said the sources, decided to step in before Israel decides on a large-scale operation in Gaza."

In other words, the Egyptians are afraid Israel will actually succeed in ending Hamas terrorism, so feel compelled to step in to protect Hamas.

"Palestinian sources told the Reuters news agency that Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman will submit a ceasefire bid between Hamas and Israel by next week. The bid will reportedly include the halt of all violence, as well as reopening the Gaza crossings."

Thus to better facilitate smuggling of rockets and other weaponry into Hamastan.

"The attempt to reach a political solution to the situation in Gaza is shared by Israel, the US, the EU, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. Egypt is to be the go-between with Hamas, as it tries to find a solution both sides can live with."

Of course, there is no long term solution compatible with the continued free rule of Hamas anywhere.

"Both Israel and Egypt intend to step-up the frequency of these meetings in the coming weeks, as the Foreign Ministry intends to push for a solution to the smugglings emanating from the Philadelphi Route."

Egypt can easily implement a solution. For weapons to get from the Sinai to Hamastan, they have to be brought through sparsely populated desert areas where they could easily be intercepted by Egypt if Egypt had a desire to do so. Egypt could also construct a physical barrier, such as a moat, making it virtually impossible to transport weapons into Gaza.

They have chosen to facilitate the flow of weapons into Gaza; there is no reason to believe they are now prepared to reverse course. Indeed, if they were so prepared, they could do so unilaterally. Unfortunately, even if they did so, they have already facilitated the influx of so much weaponry into Gaza that it will take a sustained effort to undo that damage.

"One of the options explored is to allow Egypt to move an additional 750 soldiers into its side of the Rafah Crossing, but the Defense Ministry is against the idea."

Now we get to the real goal of Egypt, to get Israel to agree to a further weakining of the Camp David accords.

"Coinciding with the diplomatic route, the IDF is said to continue its operations against Hamas in a limited form.

"A large military operation, stressed Jerusalem, would jeopardize the Egyptian efforts, disrupt the peace talks with the PA and harm Israel's international standing."

Talks with the PA are virtually pointless until Hamastan is dismantled, so there's no point in imperiling more Israeli lives to facilitate those talks.

"We're better off letting Egypt be a part of trying to find a solution," a diplomatic source told Ynet. "We can always resort to an extensive military operation if that fails."

As it almost certainly will. The major question is how much more damage Egypt will cause.

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