HUMANITARIAN PAUSE? BALL IN HAMAS COURT
If Israeli reporters are correct, Olmert will accept Sarkozy's suggested 48 hour pause as a prelude for a more permanent agreement. Israel claims to have degraded Hamas military capability and Hamas demonstrated it can hit Beer Sheva 40 kilometers away. It can afford to call it quits. But will it? I hope so.
I do not see much value in continued mutual blood shed and I worry about Israeli talk of a long, slow meticulous operation. That is a way to lose wars, not to win them.
The battle is always to the swift. Israeli efforts to minimize collateral damage is admirable but, like in surgery, speed is ultimately less harmful.
As Israel is not interested in reoccupying Gaza, a ground operation does not seem cost effective. It should learn the lessons of American operation in Iraq. Only clean and hold works. Clean and leave is useless. Of course, Mashal may continue to sacrificing the people of Gaza especially if Syria/Iran object.
As Hamas representative in the PA legislative council said:
For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel.
Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire Life.
In other words, Palestinian supporters should pressure these terrorist states to end this proxy war. Some do. There is talk of an Arab delegation going to Damascus to talk to Mashal.
Obama's silence surprised many. Sarkozy is coming to the ME on Monday. He may be hoping to do something about the Israeli hostage, Oded Shalit who is also a French citizen. But he will soon be relinquishing the EU presidency. His place is going to be taken by the Czechs. According to it spokesman, foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, responded to the Israeli operation thus:
According to our minister Israel has the right to take military action in defense of locations where its civilians live. Hamas does not act as a partner and no political dialogue is possible unless Hamas stops its attacks against Israeli settlements.
On the other hand, it is unfortunate that the living conditions in the Gaza Strip are so bad. These conditions need to be changed in such as way that they will not make young people join radical organizations. However, political negotiations can only take place after a ceasefire is renewed.
Also see, Israel war on Hamas, a dozen thoughts
Off the record Arab American analysis
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