Sunday, November 26, 2006

Israel foolishly accepts a Palestinian ceasefire offer

Israel announced that it would accept the Palestinian factions' offer of a ceasefire today, following a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Abbas phoned Olmert and told him he had received an agreement from all the different Palestinian factions to the cease-fire, and in response "requested that Israel would stop all military operations in the Gaza Strip, and withdraw all its forces from there."

It remains to be seen whether the Palestinians abide by this. Islamic Jihad and Abu Reish, an armed faction of Abbas' Fatah, both announced early Sunday that they were not part of the ceasefire agreement. Of course, they did so after the Israeli troops pulled out of Gaza!

According to the statement, the two "agreed to continue the dialogue to bring about an end of violence in the West Bank, and agreed to talk again soon." No mention was made in the statement about kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Like the soldiers abducted by Hezbollah, he's apparently no longer in the picture.

The agreement, according to Israeli officials, only applies to Gaza and not Judea and Samaria (The West Bank).

Palestinian terrorist groups announced the offer on Saturday, saying that they would stop firing rockets at Israel at 6 a.m. Sunday. "We have set 6 a.m. tomorrow morning to stop firing rockets toward Zionist towns in our occupied land in return for a mutual cessation of the aggression committed against our people," said Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees.

This is a major strategic error on Israel's part, since it allows the Palestinians to regroup and rearm. They would never have sued for a ceasefire if they weren't desperate and on the losing end. The IDF's pinpoint targeted strikes in Gaza have been fairly effective.

I sense the fine hand of James Baker and his pal Condi Rice in this.

A White House spokesman said that it viewed the joint announcement as "a positive step," adding that the US hoped the agreement would diminish the bloodshed between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Important in this picture is the ultimatum given to Israel by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who OK'd the ceasefire after talks with Egyptian intelligence minister Omar Suleiman. At the news conference announcing the ceasefire offer, Meshaal gave Israel an ultimatum to either pull back to the June 4, 1967 lines within six months and cede these areas to the Palestinians or face war.

Six months is probably the time needed for Hamas and Hezbollah to rearm, train and plan for another war. And war is coming in any event, no matter how far the Israelis pull back.

The idea is for Hamas to buy itself some time, free from the IDF incursions that were making it more difficult to prepare for the next jihad against the Jews. In the meantime, it's a win-win for the Arabs: If Israel waits and allows them to attack at a time of their choosing, armed with the new Iranian weapons and aided by Hezbollah to the North, the results will be deadly. If the Israelis balk and decide not to simply wait to be attacked, the Palestinians and their willing accomplices in the West can accuse Israel of breaking the ceasefire.

Well done, Olmert.


Anonymous said...

Well, what did you expect? That the UN and the French would honor their commitments in Lebanon and prevent these murderers from obtaining weapons?

This is the inevatable outcome of the political climate pervading today's world, not necessarily Olmert's fault.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Nazar,
Hope you had a great holiday.

Of course I did not expect the UN to honor its own resolution..but the US and Israel should have insisted on it as a condition of the ceasefire, even if it meant UN action to forcibly disarm Hezbollah and hard sanctions against Iran and Syria for violating the embargo called for in UNr1701.

Compare this with the UN's actions on Korea - though as we know, the UN had a very different composition then.

The price of not doing this was Lebanon's future security and freedom. Had the UN acted, even with sanctions and had Israel had better leadership, Lebanon would not be in turmoil now.

Olmert totally mishandled the IDF in Lebanon and then was in a huge rush to accept a ceasefire that wasn't, even though the IDF had Hezbollah surrounded and could have destroyed them given the orders and time to do so.

He's committing the same stupid mistake now, quitting when victory is in sight and allowing the enemy to regroup and rearm.