November 21, 2012
A Maybe Ceasefire
After 150 people were killed dead and $1 billion in damages some kind of a Gaza ceasefire will be in place at 9pm local time. We have yet to see if it holds. Just a week ago Egypt had brokered a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas only to see it sabotaged when Israel killed Hamas military leader Ahmad Jabari and started the current conflagration.
This ceasefire comes after Hillary Clinton managed to broker a deal between two intractable foes, Bibi Netanyahoo and Ehud Barak who until today differed over a ceasefire agreement.
It is not yet clear what has been agreed on but a first phase of quiet. What about the Israeli blockade of Gaza? What has Egypt agreed to with regard to its border with Gaza? Will it hinder the restocking of Hamas' armament which will, as nothing was settled, be needed for the inevitable next round?
What was promised to other groups in Gaza who would probably like to continue the fight? And what did Obama promise to get Netanyahoo to agree to this ceasefire?
There is also the inevitable question of "Who has won and who has lost?" The parties will not have agreed on an answer to that question. What do you think is the answer to that question?
Posted by b on November 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM | Permalink
...another round for all my friends.
Posted by: bahhummingbug | Nov 21, 2012 1:08:19 PM | 1
Iran is not providing the fish to the Palestinians it has thaught them how to fish. That's what both Iran's speaker of the house and the head of revolutionnary guard has said in the past 2 days. Therefore the restocking, and with a far better technology, is a resolved issue now.
Posted by: ATH | Nov 21, 2012 1:12:01 PM | 2
Until we see the terms of ceasefire (assuming there is one) we can't really tell. So long as Hamas can rearm, then they can at least claim a modicum of deterrence: assassination can't be undertaken so lightly.
Also, Iron dome turned out to be far too expensive to be used against Hamas in a long drawn out war. Hamas proved that even a very small and blockaded force can obtain enough rockets to exhaust ID. Western media will pump it up as a great achievement and the manufacturers will try to push it on the rest of the globe, though I can't think of anybody who would need one, even if it did work.
The real strategic implications remain to be scene. Did the Arab world finally notice the hypocrisy between Syria and Gaza? Did they see the clear cut collaboration between Qatar/KSA and Israel? Did they notice that Iran/Syria/Hezbollah are the only real friends the Palestinians have? I can only hope so, but I can't say for sure yet.
Posted by: Lysander | Nov 21, 2012 1:27:58 PM | 3
Here is a photo of the terms. Ambiguous.
Posted by: b | Nov 21, 2012 1:30:20 PM | 4
It seems Israel actually had to agree to something with the US as witness
EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ANNOUNCES GAZA CEASEFIRE
- Egyptian Foreign Minister says truce starts at 1900 GMT
- Clinton says Egypt's new government is assuming "responsibility, leadership" in the region.
- Gaza-Israel ceasefire deal has Egyptian "guarantees," Egyptian source close to truce talks says
- Egyptian source says truce includes end to "assassinations" and "incursions," will also ease movement of Palestinians
- Ceasefire between Hamas and Israel agreed: Palestinian official with knowledge of talks
- Egyptian official confirms to Reuters ceasefire agreement reached between Palestinians, Israel
- Israel has agreed to truce in Gaza, but will not lift blockade: Israeli sources
-Netanyahu tells Obama he is ready to give ceasefire a chance - Israeli prime minister's office
- Israel's Netanyahu warns more forceful action might be needed if ceasefire fails - statement
The issue this will have been mainly about is the "Philadelphi Route", that would be the "guarantees" I cannot see Egypt taking this too seriously though ...
Posted by: somebody | Nov 21, 2012 1:31:46 PM | 5
Regarding deterence, I like this analysis here:
The message of deterrance from South Lebanon and the new balance of terror Hamas has gained (so far)
Here is a clear warning from Hizbullah to Israel yesterday which the Israelis well understand (this happens regularly during flarups) – cut your losses, go to a ceasefire and concede to Hamas…. or else.
“Two 107mm Grad rockets located about 2 miles inside the border and aimed toward Israel were discovered and disarmed by Lebanese security forces on Monday. The Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper quoted an unnamed security source as saying that rockets are often fired into Israel as a sign of solidarity with the Gaza Strip whenever hostilities break out there. If fired, the missiles could have reached 4 to 5 miles into Israeli territory. Lebanese authorities are continuing to investigate.”
Here too is an indication of how the balance of power is changing in the direction of Hamas:
” Egyptian President Morsy is seen as the lynchpin to mediation efforts. According to reports, Hamas will come away with success in the form of Jerusalem lifting the blockade that has been in effect since Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007, including the re-opening of border crossings. Pressure from the international community on Israel to forego a ground invasion has been intense. Emissaries from virtually all of the key Western governments, including the US, have warned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu not to green light his ground troops. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due in Israel on Tuesday and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive for talks on the situation on Wednesday.”
– Israel is facing a situation of pressure and counter force unprecedented in the last twenty years of battle EXCEPT for its conflict with Hizbullah. Hamas has, apparently, finally finally reach the holy grail of “resistance” groups: a balance of terror (though of course greatly titled!) with continuous fire capacity and diplomatic/media pressure that is clearly having a significant, material impact on the Israelis, limiting their options.
I don't know if there will be a lifting of the siege. The Egyptian 'revolution' should have accomplished that without any fighting. What I think might happen is Israel conceding in private for Egypt to reopen Rafah after a couple of months so that Israel can save face. But maybe not even that. If they agree to reopen it now, then it would be an unequivocal win for Hamas and I doubt Israel would ever accept that.
Posted by: Lysander | Nov 21, 2012 1:37:55 PM | 6
The text of the agreement via reuters - critical ambiguous point:
C. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents' free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
"shall be dealt with" doesn't say anything.
Posted by: b | Nov 21, 2012 2:11:52 PM | 7
I think a balance of terror's been established..Bibi gambled and never expected to get the response he had from the Palestinian resistance.
The Iron dome system's also been proven to be yet another expensive flop but not to worry, the Americans will keep funding it.
The Palestinians proved resilient this time round and answered all of Israel's air-strikes. Striking as far as Tel Aviv, something only Saddam managed to achieve in the current Arab history.
My prediction??? Bibi will be toast in the next elections.
We shall see how Turkey and Qatar manage their Syria fiasco from now on.
Posted by: Zico | Nov 21, 2012 2:28:46 PM | 8
I think the Palestinian resistance groups will work hard from now on the acquire more anti-air defence systems..
The IDF couldn't launch a ground invasion because they feared suffering massive losses - which was guaranteed.
After all the huffing and puffing, Bibi's proven to be a coward..
Posted by: Zico | Nov 21, 2012 2:32:37 PM | 9
Answer is for next elections.
Posted by: Rhysa | Nov 21, 2012 2:40:01 PM | 10
To answer your question, nobody won. But the Gazans are still standing and that's the best they could have hoped for. I think Israel's position is eroding.
Remember during the Cast Lead operation, the attack on the principles of proportionality? It's back again, this time with desperation. From American pundit Walter Russel Mead:
"the television pictures that drive much of the world away from Israel often have the effect of strengthening the bonds between Americans and the Jewish state"
He's saying that American TV viewers seeing the torn bodies of children killed by Israel actually has the effect of strengthening the ties between their country and Israel. This is perverse but let's say it's true. I don't see how this advances Israel's cause in any meaningful way. Sure, Israel has leave to kill a few more children the next day without fear of being blamed. However, impunity with American TV viewers in killing children is not going to win any war for Israel. Thinking otherwise is just more evidence of Israel's moral and intellectual bankruptcy.
I wrote about this in some detail here.
Posted by: Martin Trueman | Nov 21, 2012 2:40:28 PM | 11
b no 7
I guess it still has to be discussed. Clinton did not wish to stay forever, I suppose.
Nothing prevents Palestinians from firing rockets again. Nothing prevents Israel to call up reserves and invade Gaza except they seem to fear their own threat.
In other news Armanpour interviews Khalid Meshal for CNN. And Western powers suddenly want to urgently speak to Iran. And there is a last push for Damascus.
Posted by: somebody | Nov 21, 2012 2:59:18 PM | 12
Israel won as usual. The fight, but it seems to have lost the media war. "Lost" being a strong world, more like: it was not able to have only lies published, some dead Palestinian kids finally got a bit of attention.
Egypt and Turkey provided only lip service to the Palestinian cause, as I'm not aware of any anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons being sent to Gaza by these "benefactors". The rest of the Arab world was, pretty much, a farce.
And, "better yet", Israel can, at any time, invade and claim it was in retaliation, and the whore media will publish that as gospel.
The Palestinian people lost big time.
Posted by: Tod | Nov 21, 2012 3:13:03 PM | 13
Fox news is droning on about how key Morsi is and how Egypt now has to block the flow of wespons. They're setting him up to be their man if he plays ball or the fall guy if he doesn't.
I don't trust Morsi at all but I think he fears being an obvious tool. So we'll see how he squares that circle.
Posted by: Lysander | Nov 21, 2012 3:16:16 PM | 14
My guess is if Israel agrees to stop its aggression under the conditions mentionned above on a post i read, it is not only a clear sign if strategic failure for them , it is also a clear demonstration that Syria is still a key player, just like Iran is. Syria , (and Bashar ) .has won too.
Posted by: Nabil | Nov 21, 2012 3:16:37 PM | 15
What we are seeing is the growing obsolescence of the vast arsenals that Israel and NATO have accumulated.
We didn't see helicopter gunships in action because they are increasingly susceptible to missiles launched from the ground. The same is likely to be true regarding drones in the very near future. And Air Forces have always worked best against the unarmed.
Then there is the question of tanks and infantry of the sort that Israel can deploy. Once extremely effective in the region, in an era when local militaries were not much more than the leavings of the colonists, employed primarily to protect kleptocrats from their victims, the IDF now faces the challenge of over running not trenches full of half trained peasants but widely dispersed batteries of missile launchers.
The entire military strategy of the imperialists, designed to deal with more or less conventional formations or unarmed villagers, is obsolescent.
Now the heat will return to Syria but there aren't any more places like Syria, and developments in Libya are surely giving the imperialists pause: their victory is looking increasingly Pyrrhic, just as their "triumphs" in Afghanistan and Iraq have turned out to be.
These are interesting times for the Empire.
Posted by: bevin | Nov 21, 2012 3:29:52 PM | 16
The whole thing stinks. I can't work out what the hell just happened over the last week and what the motives really were from any of the players involved.
But the elephant in the room remains Assad, and the media circus will now turn its attention back towards him.
Posted by: Pat Bateman | Nov 21, 2012 3:42:21 PM | 17
no 13, you seem to live in a parallel universe
- the US accept Hamas as legitimate,
- allow Hamas and Fatah to unite so that
- Israel will be confronted by a Palestinian negotiator with military power and international recognition
- Israel will have to behave or be back to square 1 and I guess Netanyahu was desperate not to have to invade ...
Cast Lead ended by a unilateral ceasefire the Israelis just stopped shooting.
Posted by: somebody | Nov 21, 2012 3:48:27 PM | 18
You must be reading different news than me. All I see is the same posturing as before. When did the US recognize Hamas? Please tell!
Posted by: Tod | Nov 21, 2012 3:50:35 PM | 19
I agree. The hypocrisy displayed from Arab states, as well as Turkey and others, has been farcical. Why were there no calls for a coalition of the willing amongst these states - these alleged friends of the Palestinians - to impose a no-fly zone over the Gaza strip?
Whilst Palestinians were being blown to pieces from the air, Turkey was begging NATO for patriot missiles along its border with Syria.
It also took 2 minutes after reports of the first civilian casualties in Gaza before media stations questioned whether Hamas's own actions put the safety of civilians at risk.
It's been nearly 2 years and I'm still waiting for rebels in Syria to be accused of the same thing.
Posted by: Pat Bateman | Nov 21, 2012 4:06:02 PM | 20
Hamas won; Abbas lost and by far the biggest loser is Netanyahu making the fateful mistake of assassinating children and Jabari who was working on a permanent truce with Israel. Netanyahu's political greed and backward judgment brought on nothing but chaos and tragedy.
Hamas proves that it is the backbone of Palestine. Unlike Abbas, Hamas had the guts to confront Israel and challenge it at its game.
Deterrence commands respect and works.
Posted by: kalithea | Nov 21, 2012 4:07:01 PM | 21
There are two very important points to note about the text of the cease fire
Where it deals with both sides agreeing to not attack the other I will ask everyone to mull the difference between:
"Israel SHOULD stop"....
"All Palestinian factions SHALL stop".....
The first ("should") is a suggestion that Israel is free to accept/reject, whereas the second ("shall") is an order.
Which all means that Israel is free to initiate hostilities whenever it chooses to shout "Gosh, I'm feeling threatened!"
This agreement clearly does nothing to end the blockade.
According to 1(c) the crossing for both persons (i.e. the Rafah crossing) and goods (i.e. the Erez crossing) must reopen, but note that it's only the "residents' free movements" (i.e. Rafah) that can not be restricted. There is nothing in this agreement that prohibits the restriction of goods (i.e. Erez).
So according to this agreement Israel must reopen the Erez crossing within 24 hours, but Israel is free to o.p.e.r.a.t.e. that crossing as it sees fit.
Which will mean Business As Usual.
Man, whoever negotiated this on behalf of Hamas simply didn't know what he was doing....
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 4:37:25 PM | 23
Johnboy 23, sure, but Israel never had a real interest in keeping the crossings closed as it is their businesses that cannot export their goods through them ... it is a market of over 1 million people. The more important issue for Gaza is to export their stuff, I hear there has been talk of a free trade zone.
The agreement is the final aknowlegdement that the blockade did nothing as obviously Hamas has plenty of arms and the Palestinian calorie count did not make Gazans revolt.
There are different texts of the agreement as obviously some will be retranslated from Arabic and Hebrew, and the Egyptian more detailed text is different from the basic English text underwritten by the US. It seems Egypt has taken the chair in all this.
As the US is reorienting to Asia and the Muslim Brotherhood appears to be the movement of the day, Israel will have to make nice.
Israel has no military deterrence left if it cannot win against Gaza, and they did not win. Clinton did not come at Egypt's request she came at Israel's request. Israel's strategy to "manage terror" in order not to have to make peace is at a dead end.
Posted by: somebody | Nov 21, 2012 5:12:02 PM | 25
I'm interested in the true performance of Iron Dome. Some reports put it as missing 2/3 of the incoming rockets. My guess is that that's BS. I'd be surprised if it hit any.
If Israel was actually able to knock out 1/3, that's quite impressive and means that future technology do better. But at what cost? 100x the cost of rockets? 1000x?
If Iron Dome really didn't perform well, then it probably indicates that Patriot missiles and all the other missile defenses were impressive...until actually tested. If that's the case, the real casualty is the US' carefully constructed mirage that missile defense actually serves some purpose besides enriching defense contractors and those charged with hyping the mirage.
Anybody got real info? The usual suspects have been busy hyping Iron Dome's awesome performance.
Posted by: JohnH | Nov 21, 2012 5:17:11 PM | 26
@24 I'm going by what the Israeli press are reporting i.e. they are giving us THEIR english translation of that original text, and THEIR translation makes that distinction.
And, after all, it's the ISRAELIs who will be seeking to exploit any such loophole, so it's important to point out that it's the ISRAELIs who are attempting to insert that hole into the document.
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 5:20:08 PM | 27
@25 Sorry, I can't agree with this sentence:
"The agreement is the final aknowlegdement that the blockade did nothing as obviously Hamas has plenty of arms and the Palestinian calorie count did not make Gazans revolt."
That's Rose Coloured Glasses stuff, because there is nothing in the text of the agreement that "acknowledges" any such thing.
The text says that all crossing shall reopen, but I am quite correct to point out that while the agreement prohibits any restrictions upon the movement of persons it carries no equivalent prohibition upon the restriction upoin the movement of goods.
That isn't by accident. Israel has made zero concession on the blockade with this new agreement.
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 5:23:58 PM | 28
Well, I noticed a willingness, heretofore non-existent, of our media to address the Palestinian side of the story. Yes, it was a soup of information served lukewarm. But, nonetheless, at least it made it to the table. The narrative is changing.
Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 21, 2012 5:33:42 PM | 29
@23 No doubt, Zionists have mastered cheating with words and have used this ruse repeatedly in the past. One thing Palestinians need besides more efficient deterrence: a legal representative that thinks like a Zionist.
Palestinians must relentlessly return Zionist medicine in spades. The trick to defeating Zionists is to remember that Zionists are easy prey to their own "language".
Posted by: kalithea | Nov 21, 2012 5:34:18 PM | 30
28, sure, ink never does a thing nor language if the people writing an agreement do not wish to make it work. So if Israel insists on restricting people and goods, Gazans can start a process of complaining to Egypt, to the US, to the EU, to the UN and if of no use fire rockets. Or start to fire rockets immediately. And Israel can then retaliate - again.
However I do think when Israel has added up the costs and benefits of this week's experience they will prefer to keep the crossings open.
Or do you share Israeli logic that you protect your country by making people fire rockets at you? And somehow magically a rocket that has been fired at you is less dangerous than a rocket that does not get fired at you?
If Israel's policy is meant to prevent Palestinians from firing rockets - it failed.
Posted by: somebody | Nov 21, 2012 5:39:59 PM | 31
"There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders." - Obambi
Daniel [talking to empty wheelchair]: 'Well, sir, how 'bout 'em hellfire baddies we unleash over the heads of the Yemeni, Afghan and Pakistani population?'
Ceasefire v 9.0.012
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 21, 2012 5:43:52 PM | 32
Israel says 'A,' does 'B' while aiming for 'C.' Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 21, 2012 5:50:24 PM | 33
Will the UN application for "statehood" for Palestine go forward?
Posted by: mrm | Nov 21, 2012 6:13:39 PM | 35
well, I'd say Hamas called Israel's bluff and survived to sign the treaty while still firing rockets, so it won
on the line now is Morsi, who risks losing face if Israel plays dirty; or Israel and the Us risk losing an ally ...
maybe the Us were displeased? after all this senseless (even by Zionist standards) aggression sent Hamas back into the arms of Iran and shattered the credibility of the anti-Syrian alliance
Hezbollah and Hamas have been attacked and are both still there, stronger and better armed: a war against Iran is now even more improbable (provocations aside)
Posted by: claudio | Nov 21, 2012 6:17:15 PM | 37
@37 The important point is that an official ceasefire agreement was reached, rather than an Ehud Olmert-style "unilateral ceasefire".
That means that Netanyahu has entered into official committments by Israel to Hamas and, furthermore, that he has agreed to give Egypt assurances that Israel considers itself bound by those committments.
There is NO WAY ON EARTH that Netanyahu would have wanted to legitimize Hamas by signing that agreement, yet sign it he did.
There can be only one reason why: Bibi wanted out but he knew that if he tried to Pull An Olmert then Hamas was just gonna' keep on shootin'....
So the big political winner here (and, really, that's what counts) is clearly Hamas, since they forced Israel to sign an agreement that concedes to Hamas a recognition that it had not hitherto possessed.
Oh, and am I right in thinking that this is the very first agreement that Israel has ever signed which explicitely says that A Country Other Than The USA is the agreed arbiter in dispute resolution?
I'm assuming that's because the USA doesn't want to talk with Hamas (which, obviously, an arbiter would have to do), but Israel may rue allowing this precedent to be set....
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 6:54:45 PM | 39
I wonder what the impact will be on the Syrian theater of war. I am wondering what Russia will do if Turkey deploys the Patriots. I also wonder if this was part of an Israeli plan to test the Iron Dome and now we are off to open war with Syria and down the road an attack on Iran.
Posted by: revenire | Nov 21, 2012 7:06:44 PM | 40
@Johnboy 39 -
The important point is that an official ceasefire agreement was reached, rather than an Ehud Olmert-style "unilateral ceasefire".
and Iran scores points in the Arab world:
Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadhan Abdallah Shalah also told Al-Jazeera TV on Tuesday: “the weapons that are fighting the Israeli aggression and arrogance in Palestine come mainly from Iran, as the entire world knows. This is no secret. These are either Iranian weapons or weapons financed by Iran.”
Posted by: claudio | Nov 21, 2012 7:33:22 PM | 41
Israel also singed the Oslo Accords...
Details of the Oslo Accords
What were the details of the Oslo Accords?
Oslo Accords, officially known as “Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements”, is a document signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and representatives of the State of Israel in September 1993. The agreement which was signed in a ceremony held in Washington by U.S. President Bill Clinton marked a breakthrough in decades-old conflicts between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. Yitzhak Rabin, the then Israeli Prime Minister and Yasser Arafat, the president of PLO, brought an end to their sworn enmity in a historic handshake in an event which went on to become one of the most momentous in the history of Middle East. The entire geo-political map of the region was redrawn in that one thoughtful move.
This agreement, which was the result of the Madrid Conference in 1991, contained a set of general principles pertaining to a five year interim self-rule period allowed to Palestine, mutually agreed upon by the both parties. The issue of “permanent status” was to be initiated in the third year so that the negotiations would lead to the implementations that were to take effect at the end of this interim period.
Mentioned below are the main points of the Declaration of Principles (DOP).
1. Transfer of Powers to the Palestinians
According to a feature of DOP, power and responsibilities in Gaza and the West Bank are to be transferred to Palestine to let them have a control of their own in these areas.
2. No Prejudgment of the Permanent Status
Issues of the permanent status like refuges, Jerusalem, Security arrangements and settlements are excluded from the DOP. It stated that the outcomes of the permanent status decisions are not to be prejudged from the interim agreement.
3. Israel to be Responsible for the Security
The DOP states that Israel is to retain the responsibility of the security of areas pertaining to the international borders as well as the Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank.
Phases involved in the implementation of the DOP were specified as below.
Self rule in Gaza-Jericho:
Withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the areas of Gaza and Jericho was the first step in the implementation of the DOP. This aspect was negotiated and brought to a conclusion in Cairo Agreement signed by the PLO and Israel in May 1994.
Transfer of power and responsibilities:
The authority of tourism, direct taxation, social welfare, health, culture and education was to be transferred to the Palestinian representatives. Additional sectors were to be transferred gradually as per agreements. According to the DOP, these powers should be transferred immediately after the implementation of Gaza-Jericho agreement.
Permanent status issue:
Negotiations regarding the permanent status were to commence no later than the third year of the interim period. The talks in this regard were supposed to bring out final settlements between the two parties. It was understood that these negotiations would cover the refugee issue, positions on Jerusalem, issue of borders and settlements as well as security arrangements and other issues of common interest. According to the DOP, the Gaza-Jericho agreement would follow implementation of the permanent status, taking effect in 5 years from the time of agreement, that is, May 1999.
The bilateral agreement of Oslo Accords was a positive step in promoting peace-process between Palestine and Israel. However, lack of commitment and consistent use of force by IDF caused its failure. The peace-process never took a healthy flight and the DOP finally came to a standstill after Camp David summit and of the second intifada.
I think you get the gesta ...?
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 21, 2012 7:58:19 PM | 42
@42 Yeah, I understand that Israel signs agreements in bad faith, and then doesn't consider itself to be bound by the articles of that agreement.
Yeah, I get that.
I will point out, however, that one of the reasons why Israel gets away with that is because it always, always, always insists that the United States of American should be the arbiter. And the USA invariably lets Israel get away with murder, as you so meticulously document.
Oslo is a very good example, because the name itself tells you that the negotiations were originally sponsored by the Norwegians (not the USA, which was fixated on the Madrid Conference). Yet when it came time to sign the document that ceremony took place..... on the White House lawns, and not in Oslo.
As in: once the negotiations got to the interesting stage of drafting an agreement then the Norwegians were unceremoniously shoved out of the way and the USA elbowed itself into the official role of the Oslo Accords Umpire(tm).
But note that this time it's different.
This time it's Morsi - not Obama, nor Hillary - who gets to hold that whistle, and so it's the EGYPTIANS who get to blow the whistle on time-wasting and tardiness.
Does that actually mean much? Dunno, to be honest, because this is a completely *new* experience for all parties.
But it is *new*, and that in itself is worthy of note.
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 9:15:50 PM | 43
Who has won and who has lost?
Game, set and match for Hamas. They took what Israel sent and kept on sending rockets in considerable numbers. Iron Dome intercepted most of them but not all -- thus subjecting Israelis to unprecedented danger, plus causing Israel to call up reserves and to (only) threaten invasion. Hamas (pointed out above) is now recognized by Israel, Egypt, and the U.S., and while Abbas/Fatah were bystanders Hamas gained international R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Also in the winners column, Iran. Iran stood by Hamas, not the closest of allies, and thus proved their creds as ME superstars.
Loser -- Israel. They will have to improve Gaza access conditions, in return for stopping Hamas rockets. Israel has lost whatever support they had from area powers -- Egypt, Turkey, and even - Qatar? Israel has used Egypt for a crutch for years, with US bribery to Mubarak, and that support is gone.
Now Hamas will make nice with Abbas for the UNGA Palestine statehood thing Nov 29. Another big-time put-down for the Sons of Zion.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 21, 2012 9:49:56 PM | 44
@44 "Now Hamas will make nice with Abbas for the UNGA Palestine statehood thing Nov 29."
That would be the smart play from Hamas i.e. give their blessing to the PLO's diplomatic initiative, or at least announce that they are not opposed to it.
Mind you, I'm sure there are some hotheads in Gaza who are urging Hamas to rub this in Abbas' nose by deriding the UN initative as A Big Honkin' Pile O' Nothin'.
That would be a mistake, but they may decide to do it anyway.
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 10:10:04 PM | 45
I haven't read the comments yet but, imo, "Israel" won another battle but lost another round of its war for legitimacy in the eyes of all the decent people in the world. A moral and intellectual sewer, with founding principles of theft, murder and insultingly puerile bullshit will never be regarded as a legitimate "country" no matter what lies the "Israelis" tell themselves and each other.
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 21, 2012 10:30:49 PM | 47
Your "Syrian opposition"that wants $60 billion dollars is George Sabra, the new chairman of the Syrian National Council (SNC) which is not recognized by anybody. The SNC is so yesterday. The new kid on the block is the Syrian National Coalition headed by Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, a nobody, with no support inside Syria, which hasn't slowed recognition by France and Italy, in their wisdom.
I wonder if he'd settle for fifty billion.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 21, 2012 10:48:56 PM | 48
How often have you seen some scumbag Israeli "spokesman" claim that "the Palistinians don't want peace"???
Well, have any of you considered that this "agreement" may be a set-up?? Imagine, if you will, (despite this "agreement"), a Palestinian terrorist act, so heineous, that it is paraded as proof positive that "the Palistinians don't want peace".
Israel, of course, will not abide by ANY agreement that involves sacrificing any aspect of its long-term goals. This particular agreement, with its seemingly epic concessions and promises on Israel's part, presents Israel with a stellar opportunity to once and for all show the Palestinians as bloodthirsty savages that will reject any reasonable peace offer and concession offered by the Israelis. Look for a major terrorist act, "committed by Hamas", on the heels of this "agreement"???? Why not?? Israel won't sacrifice a few of its own citizens to accomplish long term goals? Bullshit.
Mark my words...the ONLY reason this "agreement" is being paraded in front of us is so that the Palestinians can be portrayed as being unable to abide by ANY agreement, no matter how reasonable or favorable to the Palestinian cause. This is a fucking farce, a charade, this so-called "ceasefire agreement".
Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Nov 21, 2012 11:08:39 PM | 49
@ Johnboy #43,
Yes, I agree with the new angle. However, wasn't Norway a new angle too? To paraphrase one the the slickest pres in US history "Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again!"
I think the Palestinian population keeps losing. Israel goes through some motions and that's it, back to square one. I surely hope I'm totally wrong [for once].
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 21, 2012 11:27:52 PM | 50
@50 Daniel, compare and contrast:
With the Oslo Accords the Norwegians did the grunt work and then the Americans elbowed them out of the way.
Result: the USA "owned" the peace process that followed on from the signed of those accords and - surprise! surprise! - Israel couldn't help itself and kept reneging on its part of the deal and the USA couldn't find it in itself to berate the Israelis for failing to do what they committed themselves to doing.
But the USA simply couldn't bring itself to "own" this ceasefire agreement - to do so was to recognize Hamas, and the USA refuses to do that.
Result: Egypt now "owns" the process of holding each side to account for any reneging that might take place and - no surprises here - Morsi is not going to allow Israel to get away with the same sort of backsliding bullshit that would take place if Hillary Clinton were the umpire.
If Israel backslides on this agreement then Morsi won't hestitate to blow that whistle.
Whether that would do any good is something that I simply can't predict, but it *is* a new development.
Hopefully, a positive development, but time will tell....
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 11:42:10 PM | 51
I'll point out that over at haaretz you'll find Bibi's Pet Poodle Barak Ravid writing this little gem:
"A senior diplomatic source said that if Israel identifies preparations for an attack from the Gaza Strip, it reserves the right to self-defense and will act to thwart it."
That would render the ceasefire agreement utterly meaningless, precisely because Israel will need only claim "probable cause" and it'll launch itself into the Gaza Strip.
Whether (or not) that "identification" proves to be erroneous apparently won't matter; all Israel needs to do is to claim that it felt threatened and that gives it the "right" to go Whammer-Jammer on Hamas and if anyone asks to see the intel then the Israelis will simply declare That's A Secret!!!
Posted by: Johnboy | Nov 21, 2012 11:49:44 PM | 52
50, the difference are Hamas weapons, and their "safe zone" - the state of the art of guerilla warfare where the fighters withdraw to tunnels, so they survive air attacks to fight the ground war plus the way social media works.
You get the images and sound of people like you and me living and dying in a war zone. No Israeli propaganda effort can counter these images. No "precise" bombing can avoid to kill women and children in a place like Gaza.
The difference also is that with Oslo Israel was suddenly in the clear and everybody hoped for peace - yes Israelis then voted for politicians who subverted that peace but for a long time Israel could keep up the pretense. The images of the Intifada worked against the Palestinans, the suicide bombers clearly being directed against civilians. This time the images work the other way round and Israelis have to stretch their injured numbers by including "shock".
Also, main stream media no longer being in control of the message and the competition to influence the "Arab Street". Lots of factors have changed.
And of course a huge factor is the US Jewish community - a large part simply does not share Netanyahu's values.
Another huge factor - the end of the cold war. Israel is of no strategic value of the US whatsoever - it is quite a burden.
Having said all this - of course the Gazan and West Bank population have been losing all the time - no democracy, no freedom of movement, no equal opportunities, assassinations, bombs, shelling. What they are fighting for are basic human rights.
Posted by: somebody | Nov 22, 2012 2:03:31 AM | 53
Susan Dirgham @SusanDirgham
2. "..with a reconstituted Syria becoming a key building block for a new, Sunni bloc.." Alastair Crooke https://www.conflictsforum.org/2012/something-curious-is-happening-to-sunni-islam/ … The West's aim?
20 Nov Susan Dirgham @SusanDirgham
1. "the Brotherhood and Gulf States’ ultimate aim in Syria is the taking of power - with a reconstituted Syria...." AC
Posted by: brian | Nov 22, 2012 6:58:28 AM | 54
I do keep wondering - the bus bomb in Tel Aviv - was the technology the same as used in Syria brought in from Jordan?
Posted by: somebody | Nov 22, 2012 8:44:29 AM | 55
Let's look at the major players ...
- israel - As I said before, israel wanted (and vitally needed to) force the obama government back into obediance. Actually the question is not so much, whether and how far the us really likes and approves the israeli terrorist state but rather if the relation is good enough, mainly by official TV statements, to allow israel to implicitely threaten their opponents with the "the usa will help us if needed" or, more bluntly, the "a war with us is effectively a war with the mighty usa" stick.
In that regard israel won, simply by getting the american whores, in particular hillary "zio mass murder inc." clinton to rush to israel like a called dog.
Secondly, israel wanted to weaken the Palestinians and they succeed, if at a heavy price.
- Egypt - Morsi is in a difficult position. Not yet strong enough (esp. financially) he can not simply ignore us wishes on one side but he also needs (and wants to) walk the strongly anti us and israel line of the majority of his people. His line was a smart one, gaining influence and respect and also putting turkey aside as the major regional player.
- turkey - well, frankly, who cares anyway? Their government is hardly more than a bunch of cheap whores who will bend over in any direction that just happens to promise some attention or a bone for the dog.
- usa - They have lost big time. Again being - or allowing to be pushed to look like being - on the israel terrorist regimes side they lost whatever credibility they made have had. Saying what he said, their president even managed to publicly paint themselves as the village idiot. He and his zionist go-fors will have a not so funny time explaining away the "rockets" statement in Pakistan and elsewhere.
- Iran - managed to stay relatively low-profile while strengthening their bonds to Hamas (an other groups) and running some real world weapon tests.
Concerning the cease fire it seems to me that israel needs the cease fire more than the palestinians. Let's calculate in military currency:
At a rather low price, i.e. quite few deaths, most of which strongly work in their favour pr-wise, Hamas managed to bring israel to their knees (*wanting* cease-fire negotiations is as humiliating as it could get for israel), to make israel as what it is, namely a maniac and agressive criminal mass murder regime, to help their egyptian friends to very considerably gain influence, and, last but not least, test iron dome (yes, I mean it. After all, not only israel needed to test iron-dome; Hamas (and Hezbollah and Iran) also needed to real-world test their arch-enemies new wonder-defense-shield ...).
And, just in case, the israeli terrorist hadn't got the message, the downtown bomb had a clear message too: You can control the theatre only so far. And we can still deliver pain, death and fear right at your door!
Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Nov 22, 2012 9:40:54 AM | 56
Allegedly 70% of the Jews in Israel were against the ceasefire. Some IDF soldiers think "Bibi is a loser".
This Israeli opinion is the most realistic I could find: Operation Cast Ballot: Post Mortem
A ceasefire is being announced, and we can officially mark Cast Ballot as a failure. It is a failure as far as Binyamin Netanyahu is concerned: he could have made it to the polls with four years of relative quiet, and he chose to end his second term with Tel Aviv being bombed (for the first time since 1991), as well as Jerusalem (first time since 1970), and a terror attack on a bus to boot, seemingly a first since 2005. As in 1997, when he ordered the botched assassination of Khaled Masha’al and ended up empowering Hamas by releasing Ahmed Yassin from prison, Netanyahu – whose slogan once was "strong against Hamas" – will end yet another campaign by strengthening Hamas.
And Cast Ballot is a failure, first and for most, for the holiest of Israeli behemoths, the IDF. It has proven itself, again, to be a blunt instrument incapable of carrying out its mission. As expected, the Air Force – which a common joke says is so different from the regular IDF, it ought to be considered a friendly foreign force – began the attacks by taking out quality targets. Then, after three days, it ran out of such targets, and the killing became much more random. First a family of 12 is extinguished; then a family of four, two of which are children; and on the last day of the operation, our brave flying death squad blow a vehicle sky-high, only to later find out it contained three journalists. Oops.
This isn’t new and shouldn’t surprise anyone: That’s how it went during the last round and the one before. The IAF has three days of grace, no more. And in all three conflicts, they were wasted.
The main problem is with the ground forces. They were hardly involved in the campaign. The government allowed the mobilization of 75,000 troops, 56,000 of them were actually mobilized – and then the government didn’t dare to use them. They served only as sitting ducks, deployed in open territory without much shelter. An Al Jazeera journalist noticed they were practically exposed to mortar fire, and by that observation expressed more military sense than the IDF officers who sent the troops there.
When you use ground forces in attacking a compact, dense populated region like Gaza, you have two choices: You can charge in, which means casualties. Or you can take cover, and use heavy, wild and inaccurate fire (during Cast Lead, the IDF managed to kill five of its soldiers by friendly fire – the same number lost to Hamas activity). Taking the second option leads, almost automatically, to a diplomatic defeat and a loss of the war. But the first option exists only on paper: The Israeli public is not willing to take casualties among soldiers (the death of one soldier was much more reported on than the death of three civilians), and no politician will risk dozens of military funerals – and during an elections, to boot.
Netanyahoo was in a trap the moment he started this war. He couldn't escalate as any ground invasions would have been catastrophic for him. He also had no viable exit strategy that he could execute alone. Bad set up.
Posted by: b | Nov 22, 2012 1:05:56 PM | 57
Jerusalem? (and hijacking).
One of the unacknowledged (and apparently unnoticed) victories scored by "Israel" during the shameful Cast Lead II was to continue training the MSM to use the word "Jerusalem" instead of "Israel" or "Tel Aviv" in most, if not all, of the reports about the Moral & Intellectual Sewer's latest remote-control fake war on Gaza's civilians and civilian infrastructure (including that ever-so-dangerous HAMAS institution, Gaza's Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages).
Over the last two years or so, the local "Israeli" press and media has all but removed the name Tel Aviv from its lexicon. And "Israeli" students have been brainwashed for at least a decade to think of Jerusalem as the capital of Jewish Occupied Palestine. Reading the "Israeli" papers one gathers that they believe in the maxim "There's no such thing as bad publicity" - and for Haaretz, JPost and Maariv et al, it would seem that no story of Political, Medical or Rabbinical fraud, child molestation or rape is too unflattering to "Israel's" flagging image to be published, if there is even a remote connection to "Jerusalem."
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 23, 2012 12:49:55 AM | 58
@b: I am sure if things like this keep up Bibi might get a chance to "appease" them ..
"One Palestinian has been killed and 10 teenagers wounded as Israeli soldiers open fire."
Israeli soldiers open fire in buffer zone
Posted by: Rod Brown | Nov 23, 2012 5:04:50 AM | 59
And now the New York Times is inventing news
Maan, the Palestinian news agency, reported that a group of Palestinians went to Abassan, a border area east of the southern town of Khan Younis, on Friday to pray on their land, and ended up throwing stones at soldiers, who responded with gunfire. Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, identified the man who was killed as Ahmad Qudih.
Nowhere does Maan in the above link say the Palestinians were throwing stones at the soldiers. What Maan says is this
Witnesses told Ma'an a group of citizens were gathering to perform Friday prayer on their land near the border.
A relative of the dead man, who was at the scene, told Reuters that Qudaih had been trying to place a Hamas flag on the fence. He added that an Israeli soldier had fired into the air three times before Qdeih was hit in the head by a bullet.
Medics said four Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire on Thursday near the fence. An army spokesman said 200 Palestinians approached the fence and "began rioting" before causing damage to the fence.
That is a real New York Times low. They have a right to spin news. But misquoting a Palestinian news agency is a no by any standard.
Posted by: somebody | Nov 23, 2012 6:09:33 AM | 61
Same misquote in Le Monde in France.
Posted by: Rhysa | Nov 23, 2012 6:28:24 AM | 62
Judging by the "uncomfortable looks" on the faces of the politicians (Lib/Dem Charles Kennedy and Conservative Iain Duncan Smith) the truth is a little embarrassing.
Fair play to Owen Jones for pointing out the actual timeline live on BBC's Question time.
Owen jones BBC Question Time
Posted by: Rod Brown | Nov 23, 2012 6:49:56 AM | 63
On "who won"
"Only a fifth of Israelis think Israel “won” the eight-day conflict with Hamas that ended on Wednesday, and fewer than two-fifths feel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handled the conflict well, according to an opinion poll taken Thursday."
Posted by: somebody | Nov 23, 2012 9:15:45 AM | 65
when does Egypt have to respond to this violation? what is the penalty.
Posted by: hans | Nov 23, 2012 9:40:13 AM | 66
Netanyahu is using all the activity in Syria and the Iran crisis as a cover for continued expansion of Israel itself, let's not forget that both Syria and Iran are long-term problems for Israel. Therefore Netanyahu is quite serious about wanting to get rid of both of those countries.
While Israel cannot hope to do anything effective against Iran, as everyone should know, the entire point of the exercise is to get the US to attack Iran. How that is done is irrelevant from Israels' point of view.
So let's not divert our attention from the likelihood of an immediate destructive war in the Middle East to Israel's long-term plan to turn out the Palestinians. It's not an either-or situation. It's all part of Israel's long-term plan to control the entire Middle East. More importantly, it's all part of the US ruling elites' plan to do the same and profit by the wars in the meantime.
Posted by: Cynthia | Nov 23, 2012 10:00:02 AM | 67
Israel is facing a situation of pressure and counter force unprecedented in the last twenty years
From Lysander’s link at 6. Yes, and it very public, noticeable.
Lysander: “I don't know if there will be a lifting of the siege. The Egyptian 'revolution' should have accomplished that without any fighting.”
Bibi was hopping mad. Romney not elected. Palestine demanding better status at the UN. That lead to attack. A ground invasion was never on the cards, so nobody should get credit for stopping it. Some kind of cease-fire would have taken place under any conditions.
Morsi, and Islamists generally - jockeying for power as they are all over the ME - seem to be offering a ‘deal’ to Isr. and the US+Lackeys (West). That is, we will not challenge you, nor Isr. *for now*, and we will take your money, if you leave us alone to do as we please, and take power.
Small details are often telling. The Rafah crossing has been renewed. See the pic, it’s a Hilton dream:
Yet, according to several news articles, not more ppl are going thru it (out or in or back and forth), see here for ex.
(the graph is correct, the blurb below it not)
July 2012. Egypt should open Rafah crossing 24/7: Hamas
Aug 2012.Rafah crossing opens for humanitarian cases
Nov 2012. Egyptian authorities open Rafah crossing for Palestinian injured
According to the July 2012 article, the no. of those allowed to cross to Egypt per day is capped at 1,500. That is 500 more than before.
Nothing will change.
-type title into google for the links.
Posted by: Noirette | Nov 23, 2012 11:13:55 AM | 68
"Israel was established to be a Jewish state. Its institutions have always been shaped and constrained so as to ensure the continued existence of a Jewish majority and character. Passing a test of Jewishness entitles someone to Israeli citizenship regardless of where in the world she lives. Furthermore, her citizenship comes with a bundle of political, social and economic rights which are preferential to that of citizens who do not qualify as Jewish. This inbuilt discriminatory premise highlights the apartheid nature of the state. But apartheid is not an accidental feature of Israel. Its very creation involved immense injustice and suffering. Shielding and rationalizing this inbuilt premise prevents the address of past injustices and ensures their continuity into the future. It is a premise that, in matters of constitutional interpretation, takes precedence over, and thus involves the imposition of ‘reasonable’ limitations on, equality of citizenship."
More @ LINK
Posted by: Daniel Rich | Nov 24, 2012 4:30:14 AM | 69
@26 I have not seen specific figures about Iron Dome aside from the Israeli's official figures.
"Using radar-guided interceptor missiles, Israel's five truck-towed Iron Dome batteries shot down 421 of some 1,500 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip between November 14 and Wednesday's Egyptian-brokered truce, the military said.
It put Iron Dome's success rate at 90%. To lower costs, the system engages only rockets that threaten populated areas, though it often fires two interceptor missiles at once."
But I can tell you that missile defense in general is a gold plated joke. The performance of the newest and most expensive american systems is mediocre at best. The only way missile defense works in earnest is if you layer so many expensive systems around one area that your enemy decides to just aim at other things. This was the philosophy behind the endless layers of missile defense around Moscow. This was the idea of the original Patriot missile, an anti air missile rigged to be a crude anti missile missile very late into the cold war. It performed decently against scuds, some of the oldest and crudest big missiles around, but if they had been launched in real volleys, the patriots would have been helpless.
So if you want to protect one or two small areas, the most expensive newest anitmissile systems give you some degree of protection against a 'rogue missile' threat. But they're not credible against more than a few missiles, especially nbc armed, at a time.
Iron dome is projectile defense, ie only effective against model rockets with small explosives inside and conventional artillery, all of which have very simple to calculate trajectories and speeds in comparison to any missile. And shooting down only 421 projectiles, this cost 30 million dollars. The rockets cost somewhere near 800 dollars each. So to answer your question, the U.S. spends for Israel 89x times more than Hamas for these incidents. Costs go up a tiny bit for Hamas when you include all rockets fired, but I assume they skyrocket if you include the costs of the Iron Dome systems for Israel, so maybe you could say it costs 100x to shoot down 1/3 of the rockets with only a 90% success rate, a rate that would only decrease as rockets become more sophisticated over time.
As long as the U.S. is paying, it's a cost/benefit that the Israelis are fine with.
Once Hamas has its own missiles, all talk of defense, even with U.S. as patron, is gone, this is why Israel wants to destroy infrastructure and blockade ports. Once they have missiles, Gaza could become as inviolable as southern Lebanon is today. At least with missiles and a few thousand trained men with anti tank mines and new generation rpgs.
Posted by: Crest | Nov 24, 2012 5:07:48 AM | 70
Noirette, from your link
At the end of May 2011, Egypt announced the opening of Rafah Crossing on a regular basis for all the residents of Gaza carrying Palestinian passports and identity cards. According to the new rules, the crossing is supposed to operate daily except for Friday; the passage of men ages 18-40 through Rafah is limited to bearers of entrance visas to third countries, people with foreign passports or residency, patients seeking medical care in Egypt or students registered for study abroad. Men in that age group who do not belong to one of the above categories require special coordination with Egypt to travel through Rafah. Palestinian residents of Gaza who wish to travel through Rafah still need to carry Palestinian identity cards approved by Israel, and the ban on imports through Rafah remains intact.
Palestinians are in complete legal limbo. The fight will go on
However, they will get better in every round. Israel gets worse every round.
Posted by: somebody | Nov 24, 2012 5:08:18 AM | 71
Israel gets worse every round.
yes I agree although I said nothing will change it will do so slowly.
Note the last attack on Gaza of the same type started on 27 dec 2008 (I just realized this in the bus, someone mentioned it.) Operation Cast Lead. Obama was elected early Nov 2008 and took office in Jan. 2009. This is all about US-Irs. relations.
Posted by: Noirette | Nov 24, 2012 12:15:22 PM | 72
"Israeli Terror: The “Final Solution” to the Palestine Question"
"For the past forty-five years the state of Israel has been dispossessing millions of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, confiscating their lands, destroying homes, bulldozing orchards and setting-up ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements serviced by highways, electrical systems and water works for the exclusive use of the settlers and occupying soldiers. The process of Israeli territorial expansion throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem has greatly accelerated in recent years, converting Palestinian-held territory into non-viable isolated enclaves – like South Africa’s Bantustans – surrounded by the Israeli soldiers who protect violent settler-vigilantes as they assault and harass Palestinian farmers at work in their fields, beat Arab children on their way to school, pelt Palestinian housewives as they hang their laundry and then invade and defecate in Palestinian mosques and churches.
Less than 24 hours after the so-called “cease fire” Israeli soldiers murdered an unarmed Palestinian protestor and wounded dozens with live ammunition on the Gazan side of the border. Israel storm troopers raided West Bank homes and arrested 55 Palestinians accused of supporting Hamas. Scores more Palestinians in the Beit Lahia area of the West Bank were summarily arrested and jailed as suspected Hamas members. Jewish vigilante settlers near occupied Hebron uprooted 400 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the village of Hawara. As the missile murderers take their break, the bull dozers rev up their engines: Israel’s leaders pursue their strategic objective of a “pure” Jewish state with their inexorable and destructive juggernaut. The ‘cease fire’ merely changed the methods and the terrain of dispossession for the time being.
Israel’s assault on Gaza has totally demolished its vibrant recovery and growth since the previous war of destruction. In 2011 the economy of Gaza grew by 20%; after the recent Israeli attack who would dare consider Gaza as a place to live and invest?"
Posted by: вот так | Nov 28, 2012 10:09:52 PM | 75