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Operation Pillar of Defense

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Ceasefire and Truce Discussions with Hamas Flounder

November 19th 2012


Following reports that truce talks in Cairo had already failed, the Arab media reported Monday on Israel's terms for a ceasefire between Hamas and the Jewish state. The reports come from Arab sources, and have not been confirmed by Israel. Nonetheless, they appear to constitute some of the likely conditions Israel would demand for any cessation in the fighting. More than 1,000 Gaza targets were hit since the operation began last Wednesday. At least 10 Palestinians were killed in Air Force airstrikes including women and children on Sunday. The army also killed the head of Hamas' rocket unit, Yahia Abia.

While the prime minister is waiting for the cessation of rocket fire in order to start negotiations for a ceasefire, state officials stressed that "If there will be a way to meet the operation's objectives without a ground offensive it would be preferable, otherwise – we are ready for a ground operation."

According to YNet, the Israeli truce terms are:

1. A lull for a period of more than 15 years.

2. An immediate cessation of arms smuggling and the transfer of weapons to Gaza.

3. Cessation of rocket fire on the part of all armed Palestinian factions and an end to attacks on soldiers near the Gaza border.

4. Israel has the right to hunt down terrorists in the event of an attack or if it obtains information on an imminent attack.

5. The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will remain open, but the crossings on the Gaza-Israel border will remain closed.

6. Egypt's politicians, headed by President Mohammed Morsi, will be the guarantors of any ceasefire agreement. Meaning, the agreement will be backed by Egypt's political echelon rather than by its security establishment.

In effect, these terms would amount to two major concessions by Israel: First, they would be a de facto recognition of Gaza as an independent Palestinian state with Hamas as its legitimate government. Second, they would make the current Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt the de facto overlord of Gaza, with responsibility to protect the peace. At the same time, however, they allow for considerable Israeli freedom of action on the security front; something that would likely make them unacceptable to a genocidal terrorist organization such as Hamas.

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